THE JEC COMPOSITES INNOVATION AWARDS 2021 FINALISTS
Paris, May 11, 2021 – JEC Innovation Awards celebrate the fruitful cooperation between players of the composite community. Started in 1996, the JEC Innovation Awards have, over the past 24 years, brought in 1,900 companies worldwide. 198 companies and 475 partners have been rewarded for the excellence of their composite innovations. The JEC Innovation Awards reward composites champions, based on criteria such as partner involvement in the value chain, technicality, or commercial applications of innovations. The awards ceremony will take place during JEC Composites Connect on Wednesday, June 2nd at 2:30 pm CEST
An exciting time for the composites industry
Innovation is an essential part of this industry – it’s how we invest in our future. The top priorities for players in the composites value chain include product solidity, safety, and durability. That is why the JEC Composites Innovation Awards are more than just an awards ceremony. They are meant to inspire all participants, the whole industry and shed light on the excellent work carried out by the prize winners.
A cutting-edge selection process and a prestigious jury
After pre-selecting the finalists, a cutting-edge selection process and a prestigious jury will select one winner in each category (Aerospace; Automotive & road transportation – exterior; Automotive & road transportation – structural; Building, Construction & Infrastructure; Design, Equipment & Machinery and Sustainability)
The international jury representing the entire composites value chain includes:
- Christophe BINETRUY, Professor, EC Nantes
- Robert BUCHINGER, Business Development Advanced Industry Systems, Swarco
- Anurag BANSAL, Manager Global Business development, ACCIONA Construction S.A
- Karl-Heinz, FULLER, Manager hybrid materials, concepts, and AMG, DAIMLER
- Chantal FUALDES, Head of Airframe Certification, Executive Expert Composite Airframes , AIRBUS
- Deniz KORKMAZ, Composite Technologies Director- EMEA, KORDSA
- Michel COGNET, Chairman of JEC Group, JEC Group
- Brien KRULL, Global Director of Innovation, Magna Exteriors
The awards ceremony will take place during JEC Composites Connect on Wednesday, June 2nd at 2:30 pm CEST
JEC INNOVATION AWARDS OFFICIAL PARTNER
Finalists’ companies by categories
Development of an ultra-lightweight CFRP solar plane
Toray Carbon Magic Co., Ltd. (Japan)
Partner(s) : SKY Perfect JSAT Corporation (Japan), Tokai University (Japan)
An ultra-lightweight and high-strength composite structure for high-altitude, long- endurance flight. The thin-walled composite integral structure was realized by CFD and FEA.
Soon, it will be necessary to manage the operation of drones flying around the earth’s surface. To achieve this, monitoring from an aircraft, in a high-altitude, long-endurance flight, is planned. An electric aircraft was developed to demonstrate this potential. The requirements are for main wings with wide areas for solar cells, a large capacity battery, lots of monitoring equipment and easy to transport on load. This challenge builds on diverse experiences of racing car development such as package layout, aerodynamics and latest composite technology.
Due to pursuit of weight reduction, the design of the fuselage is based on a monocoque structure, and the main wings are a semi-monocoque structure. The front and trail edges of the wings have a skeleton structure composing of many ribs and longerons and a resin film with solar cells was applied on the wing surface. For convenience of transportation, it is possible to divide the fuselage into two parts and the main wings into three parts, and each joint part adopts a plug-in holding structure that keep stiffness and lightweight. Lightweight was achieved by making maximum use of composites, from major parts such as tail wings, nacelles and landing gears, to small parts such as brackets for on-board equipment. As a result, the total weight of the composite structure is only 35 kg as designed. The solar plane succeeded in obtaining various data and confirmed the possibility of establishinga communication environmentfor communication satellites and high-altitude aircraft.
- High-flying force, securing wide areas for solar cell, lightweight and stiffness
- Short-term development that makes full use of simulation
- Thin-walled and hollow structure for primary structure
- Thin-walled composite frame for secondary structure
- 35 kg ultra-lightweight composite body
Optimfloor: an integrated composite floor panel
Partner(s) : DGA (France), Epsilon Composite (France)
The Optimfloor panel is an integral part of the aircraft structure which contributes to the overall stiffness. Standard panels are bonded to a pultruded carbon stiffener.
The process led to a complex stacking that combines low-cost carbon fibre tows with special fabrics designed for pultrusion to obtain the best compromise between cost mechanical allowable on the stiffener. A very challenging damage tolerance goal was set at the beginning of the project and a resin was developed that meets this goal, without compromising chemical specifications (fire, smoke, and toxicity) that are required in aeronautics.
The panel is the first use of a special development of carbon tape from HEXCEL. The objective is to use this product with automatic fibre placement from COMPOSITADOUR to meet a need for a fast process with local reinforcement between honeycomb and upper plies.
- Zero corrosion
- 20% weight saving per square metre
- Faster installation
Company: iCOMAT (UK)
Partner(s) : Airbus (UK), BAE Systems (UK), National Composites Centre (UK)
Project FibreSteer has produced a demonstrator wing skin panel which is 60% lighter than the equivalent straight fibre quasiisotropic design, using iCOMAT’s Rapid Tow Shearing process.
An optimised wing-skin panel has been designed which exploits the benefits of fibre steering. Using iCOMAT’s RTS technology, fibre angles are continuously varied in-plane, enabling a wing panel demonstrator design to be reduced from 24 plies (quasi-isotropic baseline) to 8 plies, whilst achieving the same failure criterion (Tsai Wu 0.9).
The demonstrator layup speed using RTS was 0.3 m/s while steering 100 mm wide tapes around a 400 mm radius. The fibre orientation for each ply varied between 5-23° within the same course.
The panel was manufactured using aerospace standard IM7/8552 prepreg and autoclave curing, although the process is compatible with dry fibre and thermoplastic materials.
- Significantly lighter aerostructures through defect-free fibre steering
- Higher deposition rate: using wider (100 mm) and thicker (600 gsm) tapes.
- Low-cost: more affordable materials and lower slitting costs
- No gaps or overlaps, inline width control
- Enables aeroelastic tailoring and high shape complexity.
Category Automotive & road transportation – structural
Ebusco 3.0 series of city buses
Pondus Operations bv (Netherlands)
Partner(s) : 5M s.r.o. (Czech Republic), Acralock / Engineered Bonding Solutions GmbH (Austria), Alba tooling & engineering GmbH (Slovenia), Ebusco (Netherlands), Eurocarbon (Netherlands), Grunewald GmbH & Co. KG (Germany), HÜBERS Verfahrenstechnik Maschinenbau GmbH (Germany), Telene SAS (France)
A groundbreaking and unique series of electric buses created by a combination of different composite materials and technologies resulting in a series of real game changers in public transport.
For the Ebusco 3.0 series multiple materials, processes and technologies have been combined from various partners in the field of composites. The Ebusco 3.0s are a showcase of multiple composite technologies and each individual technology contributes to the overall performance in terms of reduced cost and weight compared to conventional city buses.
Ebusco is a Dutch company based in Deurne, the Netherlands. Ebusco is a pioneer and a forerunner in the development of fully electric buses and charging systems.
Telene SAS has developed a revolutionary DCPD resin system which allowed short cycle times at lower pressures compared to conventional RTM and allowed for improved damage tolerance compared to conventional matrices. This resin system was selected as demonstrator for two body panels.
Various load carrying carbon fibre beams are used in the body structure. For these beams foam cores have been overbraided with dry carbon fibres on a Eurocarbon braider. The benefit of overbraiding is an automated, affordable, and repeatable process, which creates preforms ready for injection using RTM.
Alba Tooling developed a dedicated PUR application system for the in-situ foaming of main body components. PU cores for various components have been developed and manufactured by Alba.
Grunewald is partner and supplier for RTM tooling for the carbon fibre structural beams. Multiple cavity RTM tooling has been engineered and manufactured to allow for the annually required number of parts to be produced for the different Ebusco 3.0 variants.
Hübers Verfahrenstechnik is partner for the resin mixing and dispensing systems for epoxy resins for the RTM carbon beams. The Hübers system provides the desired quantity of degassed material with constant viscosity and highest mixing quality to the RTM tooling.
5M is partner for pultruded 2D glass fibre profiles for both interior and exterior, both in monolithic and sandwich construction, consisting of specific reinforcement orientations and matrix system. Pultrusion allows for efficient and economic manufacturing for different longitudinal components in large volumes.
For structural bonding of the various sub-components Acralock adhesive materials have been selected. Acralock adhesives are advanced two-component structural adhesives, designed to bond chemically to most surfaces and provide a permanent bond between high performance composites and other materials.
- 33% weight reduction
- Operational life span of the bus beyond 20 years
- 500 km range on a single charge
- Fully flat floor throughout the bus, increasing freedom of movement.
- Reduced maintenance costs
FiberEUse – Reusable Vehicle Platform made of CFRP
EDAG Engineering GmbH (Germany)
Partner(s) : Fraunhofer Institute for Machine Tools and Forming Technology IWU (Germany), INVENT GmbH (Germany)
FiberEUse uses CFRP not only for lightweighting, but also because of its fatigue strength. The reusable platform shows that a sustainable solution for the mobility of tomorrow is possible with CFRP.
FiberEUse is a European project with a total of 22 partners, which deals with the reuse of fibres from composites. Different approaches are being pursued. EDAG has contributed its expertise as an engineering company to develop a completely new concept of a vehicle platform that can remain in use over several vehicle life cycles of 1 million km. Applications are expected to include fleet vehicles, such as car sharing vehicles or cabs. Providers can map their own ideas and requirements in a specifically developed vehicle based on the platform.
The basis of the development is the use of very durable CFRP. This is used for the structural components of the platform and can provide high stiffness and crash safety with high fatigue strength thanks to its good mechanical properties at low weight. A design based on pultruded profiles was elaborated in collaboration with Fraunhofer IWU. Simulations of the entire vehicle and crash tests delivered good results. The combination with releasable joining technologies creates a sustainable solution. A newly developed detachable adhesive bond makes it possible to inspect the platforms after an initial use phase, repair them if necessary and return them to production. A complete novel value chain could be designed. A seating system with similar reuse capabilities fitting to the platform was developed with INVENT GmbH.
In addition to the reusable main parts, components made of recycled CFRP are used for less stressed areas. In this way, the use of new material is reduced in two ways and a contribution is made to the circular economy.
In a life-cycle assessment, it was shown that the new type of platform already achieves lower emissions than conventional designs from the first reuse. The solution is also economically marketable. EDAG hopes that this new solution will help to improve the ecological compatibility of composites.
- Lower ecologic impact
- First platform concept for vehicles based on reuse
- Holistic approach for reduction, recycling and reuse
- CFRP for lightweight design and durability
- Starting point of new value chains in vehicle and composite industry
Ford Motor Company (UK)
Partner(s) : Gestamp (UK), National Composites Centre (UK), University of Nottingham (UK)
A hybrid material approach to structural components for commercial vehicle suspension. Using glass and carbon fibres in both thermoplastic and thermoset resin for 40% mass saving.
This innovation sets an affordable target of $9 per kg for weight saving whilst achieving an aggressive weight reduction of 40% – approximately 30 kg. The components are the front subframe, lower control arm and the rear deadbeam axle from a Ford Transit.
The opportunity was taken to develop innovative designs for each component. The subframe incorporates multiple composite materials (continuous carbon fibre biaxial 24k twill weave at 0/90°, ±45° and 0/90° with 6 plies for the upper and lower pressings and SMC for the rear panel) in combination with die-cast aluminium side rails which are structurally bonded with a takt time of sub-5 minutes to provide the integrity to the vehicle.
The front lower control arm utilises an injection moulded core of long-fibre glass and PA12. This is then placed into the main injection moulding tool with a steel forging that attaches the ball joint taper and is overmoulded by long fibre carbon PA12. Takt time for this component is also sub-5 minutes.
The rear deadbeam axle utilises a pultruded combination of epoxy matrix and unidirectional glass fibre with carbon fibre woven 2×2 twill and non-crimp fabric. Post processing will be via length cutting only before being jig-located for structural bonding and riveting of suspension interface components. Bespoke aluminium extrusions have been designed for wheel bearing carriers, brake caliper mountings, damper attachments, spring seats and jounce bumper reaction plates. The bonding process will be matched to the 5-minute takt time of the subframe and lower control arm.
The designs are strictly controlled to maintain the affordability of the project and to achieve the weight goals, based on the philosophy of using the right material in the right place. This is a viable method of achieving mass production using composite technology.
- Weight reduction with an associated reduction in CO2
- Mass production of complex composite parts
- Reduced engineering/development time to market
- CAE tools for optimising multi-material parts
- Integrated structural materials with advanced bonding for mass markets.
Category Automotive & road transportation – exterior
Composite Space Frame; Structural Reinforcement
Magna International (USA)
Partner(s) : Aura-engineerin
g Hranice S.r.o. (Czech Republic), BASF Polyurethanes GmbH (Germany), Cannon S.p.A (Italy), VÚTS, a.s. (Czech Republic)
Lightweight, high performance, integrated reinforcing technology utilising continuous fibre filament winding process. This replaces a traditional steel reinforcement in a liftgate application.
Magna’s patented space frame technology is used to reinforce a vehicle’s structure. The first applications of this technology in automotive is for tailgates and liftgates. The Magna Exteriors engineering team, with the help of several machine, material, and tool suppliers, combined its unique knowledge about design, materials and processing to address the challenge of reducing weight using composite materials and manufacturing processes. The end result achieves 10% mass reduction over steel reinforcements and meets all OEM performance requirements.
- Reaction injection moulding (RIM) for core.
- State-of-the-art filament winding process where continuous glass or carbon fibres are placed on the closed polyurethane (PU) core. The filament winder can variably adjust the fibre orientation of the different layers along the profile to maximise performance. Compared to traditional braiders this process is many times faster.
- High pressure resin transfer moulding (HP_RTM) for fibre infusion.
An additional advantage of this technology is the ability to have variable diameter, shape, and wall thickness, enabling the supplier and OEM to adjust the design to difficult packaging situations and load cases. The noise, vibration and harshness (NVH) and durability of the composite space frame is similar to an equivalent steel or aluminium structural component.
- 10% mass savings
- Low coefficient of linear thermal expansion
- High dimensional integrity
- Continuous load path to attachments
- Conforms to complex 3D packaging
Recycled Carbon Fiber NFPP (rCF NFPP)
rCF NFPP is a composite for compression technology of 40% natural fibers (kenaf), 50% polypropylene fibres and 10% recycled carbon fibre as a non-woven reinforcement layer.
rCF NFPP was defined to achieve the lightest solution on the market. Additionally, it provides a new opportunity for the waste of other industries. rCF NFPP is a composite for compression technology of 40% natural fibres (kenaf) and 50% polypropylene fibres; an approach which is already lighter than any plastic solutions. To reduce the weight without losing mechanical properties, a non-woven reinforcement layer of 10% recycled carbon fibre (rCF) was introduced. In the interest of the utmost sustainable solution, it was decided to use recycled carbon fibres coming from wastes of other industries (like aerospace).
rCF NFPP achieves a weight reduction of 50% compared to injected solutions and 25% compared to standard compression technologies. It is currently the lightest solution on the market, and it also enables a reduction of the global warming potential of up to 50% by combining weight reduction with the usage of natural fibres and the circular economy of recycled carbon fibres.
- Lowest weight solution on the market, weight reduction of 50% compared to ABS
- Bio content of 40% with a significant impact on CO2 emission reduction
- Reduction of global warming potential of 50%
- LCA of rCF NFPP indicates a 52% lower kg CO2 equivalent compared to ABS
- Circular economy of recycled carbon fibres
MINI John Cooper Works GP Carbon Spats
BMW Group (Germany)
Partner(s) : A. Rathmayr GmbH (Germany), Karl Wörwag Lack- und Farbenfabrik GmbH & Co. KG (Germany), Magna- Decoma Exterior Systems U.K. Ltd (UK), Multinorm (Germany), Pininfarina Deutschland GmbH (Germany), Rampf Production Systems G
mbH & Co. KG (Germany), Schneider Form (Germany), SGL Carbon (Germany), SIKA Automotive Hamburg GmbH (Germany), Wagner Maschinen- und Vorrichtungsbau GmbH (Germany)
Without extensive body-in-white modifications 4 fender enlarging carbon spats are used in the MINI JCW GP limited edition. 5 USPs and cost-effective lightweight design are the key innovations.
For the fender concept a duroplastic (DP) epoxy CFRP outer panel is bonded to a PC-ASA thermoplastic (TP) inner panel. This material combination opens the door for economic, low volume production. The major technical challenges are the different DP/TP thermal expansion and the high degree of production automatisation (3 min/spat). The adhesive release was accompanied by detailed testing to secure the different thermal expansion behaviour of the panels. For securing the required hardening time of the adhesive during production the handling stability was realised with local infrared heating. The development time of the semi-automated bonding cell was shortened by virtual reality simulation.
The production technology for the CFRP panel is wet pressing of one car set with random CFRP fibre mat and epoxy resin system. Challenges were experienced with inner load conditions as due to the tool design 3 of the 4 cavities were not mirror inverted but one total car set had to be produced in one pressing step. During process parameter alignment of wet pressing not only cycle time optimisation but also Class A surface requirements of carbon parts had to be taken into consideration.
For the CFRP recycling material (random fibre mat) a new carbon appearance is brought about with HEXI-Stitch. The iinnovative textile developed together with SGL Carbon offers unique surface properties for visual carbon components to ensure a perfect look. The new design appearance of carbon parts ensures both stability and a visual highlight.
For the inner panel a PC-ASA injection moulding process is used.
The MINI JCW GP offers the first CFRP component in the world individualised with a 0,02 mm thin paint film in a visual appearance. Therefore, the paint film was plotted into individual sets of numbers. These were transferred to the CFRP components in a single process step using an automated application technology. The individualised CFRP part was finally coated with a matt clear coat.
- USP: CFRP HEXI Stitch appearance
- USP: Transfer basecoat technology (haptic-free)
- USP: Epoxy-CFRP/PC-ASA bonding
- Exterior part numbering
Category Building, Construction & Infrastructure
Hurricane-proof home from 600,000 recycled bottles
Armacell Benelux S.C.S. (Belgium)
Partner(s) : JD Composites (Canada)
Marine-grade, moisture-impermeable FRP sandwich composite building materials to build the world’s first hurricane-proof all-composite home.
Marine composites techniques were applied to build a monolithic structured home– specifically composite sandwich panels consisting of structural core foam made of 100% recycled PET bottles, and FRP laminate skins using fiberglass and various common resin systems (UPR, VE, epoxy). Compared to traditional SIPs made of EPS foam core with plywood facings, the composite SIPs made with recycled PET bottle structural foam core provides far superior performance in terms of hurricane and seismic resistance, thermal efficiency, and sustainability. The lightweight sandwich panels allow for fast on-site assembly; the shell of the home was assembled in 14 hrs, and it was ready for interior finishing work. If desired, a floating home can be built due to inherent buoyancy of the composite SIPs, hence a floating flood-proof home can be easily achieved to prevent flood damage.
- Energy-efficient and low maintenance
- Hurricane and seismic proof
- Pest and termite proof
- Fast assembly and cost effective.
- Water and mould proof, washdown compatible (external)
Composites frames for slabs
Gatron Inovação Em Compósitos SA (Brazil
Partner(s) : Clamom (Brazil)
By developing composite frames for slabs in a high-end residential building, it was possible to realise the dynamic and curvy design created by Pininfarina.
With the infusion of self-extinguishing polyester resin and biaxial fibreglass fabrics, 3,000 m² of composites frames were manufactured, the largest of which is 4 m high, 6 m long and only 250 kg in weight.
- Design freedom
- Durability and cost reduction
PCM span for railway bridges
ApATeCh (Russian Federation)
Partner(s) : LS Engineering (Netherlands), JSCo RZD Russian Railways (Russian Federation)
Standard solutions for the construction of spans for railway bridges with fundamentally new structural and technological concepts based on PCM.
Spans made of PCM are used for capital works on replacement of spans at railway bridges and overpasses, reconstruction (modernisation) of existing railway bridges and overpasses, as well as new construction projects. The span made of PCM is made according to the beam scheme (ride on top) on ballast-free plates also made of PCM. The following materials and technologies were used in the manufacture of the span and ballast-free plates. Materials – fibreglass based on structural multiaxial fabrics and polymer binder based on vinyl ester fire-resistant resin.
Manufacturing technology – vacuum infusion and pultrusion of structural elements with subsequent integration of elements into a spatial structure. For the first time, infusion technology was used to manufacture the span of a railway bridge, which makes it possible to increase the durability of the structure, reduce installation time, service costs during the product life cycle, and acoustic and vibration effects on the environment. In the process of production and testing of the span made of PCM, Big Data technologies were successfully applied. Therefore the foundation has been laid for the formation of a new paradigm for creating highly critical and material-intensive transport infrastructure made of PCM.
- Mobility of structures, the possibility of multimodality during transportation
- Environmental friendliness during production, installation, and operation
- Reduction of energy consumption in comparison with standard structures
- Ability to reduce costs at the stages of modernisation or revision of the span
- Life cycle costs for the PCM span is 1.6 times less than reinforced concrete
Large-Scale Lighting floating in the air
Toray Carbon Magic Co., Ltd. (Japan)
Partner(s) : ASAHI BUILDING-WALL CO., LTD. (Japan)
A futuristic design concept realised by a com
posite structure by optimising the structural design, the method of fabrication and materials.
In order to realise the concept ofa huge structure with total length of 20 m and weight of 2200 kg ’ floating’ in the centre of a restaurant, a sandwich structure with CFRP and foam core was adopted due to requirements for lightweight and high stiffness. The structure does not use any suspensions from the ceiling or support from the floor.
Initially, the plan was to adopt entirely a composite structure, however, to savecosts, the composite structure was used for the specific range requiring the high strength and stiffness. The others are adopted the metal pipe and parts. It means to require the critical design to collaborate the composite structure with the metal parts to meet requirements.
- Realisation of structure as concept
- Structure with lightweight and high stiffness
- Composites composed of different materials.
- Dividable structure to keep technical requirements
- Optimised design for entire structure
LUNARK Moon habitat
Company : Armacell Benelux S.C.S. (Belgium)
Partner(s) : Refitech B.V. (Netherlands), SAGA Space Architects (Denmark)
A foldable composite structure for the next generation of Moon habitats, powered by solar systems, much lighter yet more durable than traditional solutions, and enabling multiple relocations.
The technical specification of the Moon habitat addresses technical aspects such as light-weighting, structural stability under cyclic load with broad service temperature, weather and UV-resistance and good thermal insulation. The habitat is composed of 164 composite panels, organised in the foldable origami structure, and settled at the aluminium frame. The structural core used for panels manufacturing is 8 mm ArmaPET Struct of a density 250 kg/m3. Armacell’s foam is based on fully recycled polyethylene terephthalate. Usage of recycled rPET materials which otherwise would have been sent to landfill or incinerated generates less carbon footprint and requires less energy than the production of the virgin, fossil-based PET. As the skins, Refitech prepreg materials are used – high-quality twill weave carbon fibre (2 x 200 g, 48% epoxy resin). Skin layers have been prepared by automated cutting to enable series production and dimensional consistency of panel sizes. Next, they have been manually placed onto the moulding tool and laminated with the sandwich core material, and eventually cured in the computer monitored autoclave. The resulting 8,2 mm thick panels have been CNC cut to the right dimensions, and assembled with bolts over a tough rubber seam, and sealed with flexible silicone, to provide a foldable composite origami construction. The choice of materials assured durability in transport and installation, and efficiency in the final use phase. The folded volume enabling more efficient transport accounted for only 2,9 m³, with corresponding shipping dimensions 2,23 x 2,23 x 2,23 m and a weight of just 650 kg. After unfolding and installation, the habitat offers a living and working space for 2 people. The inner insulation made of 9 mm ArmaFlex Ultima created a safe living area, providing a comfortable temperature of 20°C inside the habitat, with external temperature ranging down to -45°C.
- Unfolding origami composite architecture
- Lightweight, strong and durable design
- Thermally efficient at extreme conditions
- Integrated solar power generation
- Applying Zero Waste Ecosystem approach
Carbon 1 MK II Smartphone
Carbon Mobile GmbH (Germany)
Partner(s) : Lanxess-Bond Laminates (Germany), Modern Composites Limited (Hong Kong)
The world’s first carbon fibre smartphone made possible through a revolutionary patented technology that solves the restrictive antenna, mechanical and thermal properties associated with the material.
Carbon Mobile’s revolutionary HyRECM* Technology (patent pending) process fuses carbon fibre with a complementary composite to unlock the material’s unlimited potential for connected devices.
Despite its advanced properties for creating robust yet lightweight structures, carbon fibre is also an electromagnetic conductor. This means that it will block radio signals, creating a Faraday cage, where rather than allowing signals through, it disperses them around the outer casing. For this reason, connected devices with carbon fibre are regarded as an impossible dream within the tech sector. The answer to this problem has been 4 years in development.
The Carbon Mobile team, working alongside production partner Modern Composites, perfected a winning formula for the innovative HyRECM Technology.
HyRECM = Hybrid Radio Enabled Composite Material.
It is formed of 2 key elements. First, at 0.6 mm a stack of 3 layers of TEPEX CFRP materials is fused with complementary radio-enabled glass fibre to create one continuous material that retains the incredible lightweight and robust properties of carbon fibre whilst ensuring signal capabilities.
Secondly, to enhance signal capabilities a silver inkjet antenna support system is embedded into the 0.6 mm material itself. This ensures that any connectivity challenges are solved and a carbon fibre smartphone is as capable as any other.
The result is a world-first carbon-fibre based monocoque smartphone that is not only truly connected but also incredibly thin, unbelievably light and produced with less than 5% plastic.
- Sustainable: Built with recyclable materials and less than 5% plastic parts
- The lightest and slimmest smartphone available
- Easily repairable monocoque design
- A unique, futuristic yet timeless Bauhaus design
- No compromise on spec, ensuring great performance for the user
CAESA: A holistic optimisation tool for UD lay-ups
SWMS Systemtechnik Ingenieurgesellschaft mbH (Germany)
Partner(s) : Neue Materialien Bayreuth GmbH (Germany), REHAU AG + Co (Germany)
A digital twin which facilitates the cost-efficient, eco-friendly design of UD-tape based thermoplastic laminates by means of a user-friendly holistic layer optimisation tool.
The whole production environment of an existing automated tape-lay-up machine has been implemented in a digital twin as novel system-independent software solution. For the first time. designing thermoplastic preforms based on unidirectional reinforced tapes virtually is now enhanced by an extensive investigation of material- and process- related influences of the lay-up process on end-consolidated laminates. This includes gaps between single tape stripes and the influence of ultrasonic fixation welding spots on the final laminate. Adapted lay-up strategies that minimise the negative effects of those influences can be found by in the newly developed preform optimisation module from CAESA software accordingly and applied to the stack build up. Unlike many other systems, more than just two different tape widths can be used at the same time. Thanks to the digital twin, it is now possible to generate automated lay-up pattern with different material widths, which show different focal points depending on the desired optimisation. Also considered by the software are tape costs, laying time, cut-off, tape inventory, machine utilisation and hourly rate and CO2 footprint of the tapes used, as well as the energy consumption of the processing equipment. As a result, automated economic and ecological optimisations of lay-up sequences are now possible by applying the software during the part design phase. With the software, new potential of the tape technology can be unlocked and new markets and customers can be reached through this innovative system-independent solution.
Within the development of the CAESA module a demonstrator part has been analysed. The part, similar to an automotive door inlay, had been calculated with typical automotive (PP-GF, PA6-CF) and aerospace material (PEEK- CF) tape. The costs per produced unit could be lowered depending on the material used by 7% for PEEK-CF tapes to 9% for PP-GF tapes, while the material cut-off was lowered by 11%.
- Increasing competitiveness of UD-tape preforms
- Reducing costs, time and emissions
- Live virtual process validation
- Finding the most economical preform
- Finding the most ecological preform
Next-Gen SMC Line
Schmidt & Heinzmann (Germany)
Partner(s) : AOC AG (Netherlands), Fraunhofer Institute for Chemical Technology (Germany), Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (Germany), Parker Hannifin GmbH (Germany), ZOLTEK Corporation (USA)
CUBE brings the SMC material system into the digital age and makes it highly attractive for high performance applications and modern, flexible production facilities.
Conventional SMC lines are designed for the production of glass fibre reinforced highly filled composite and their layout is more or less unchanged since the 1960s. For the first time since then a SMC line was realised starting from scratch. The radical new layout allows for unique features. Inclined doctor boxes keep the resin at the doctor blades even during machine stops. Bearing mounted bobbin carriers and for carbon optimised surfaces at all positions in contact with carbon reduce fibre damage to a minimum. A high-speed rotating fibre opening roll increases the aspect ratio of the fibres and their mechanical performance after cutting. Heated calender rolls allow for an active de-aeration of the compound before entering two independent and automatically adjustable impregnations zones. The complete unit is housed and offers five heating zones to improve fibre wetting and to extract emissions at the same time. The winder operates according to a given material tension for a perfect packaging. In addition, the impregnation is sideways fully extendable and the whole doctor box can be automatically lifted, for easy cleaning. Finally, the compact design reduces the footprint by 65%.
The progress in terms of electronics and control is no less impressive. For the first time a SMC machine is completely equipped with servo drives – 16 drives in total. In addition, the controls were minimised so that the external control cabinet could be completely eliminated, which saves additional floor space. A classical SMC line requires commissioning times of 3-5 weeks for mechanically and electrically re-connecting of all elements on site. CUBE is delivered in one piece – plug n play. The all-new control and sensor concept enables the analysis of process data during production. In total, more than 100 values can be recorded, saved or adjusted in real time. This increases process reliability as well as the quality of the material.
- Improvement for CF-SMC: stiffness +38%, strength +79%
- Reduction of footprint by 65%
- Live analysis and logging of all process data for each centimetre of material
- Complete housing for heating and extraction of emissions and dust
- Ergonomic operability
CFRP-based robotised injection moulding machine
Anybrid GmbH (Germany)
Partner(s) : Institute of Lightweight Engineering and Polymer Technology, TU Dresden (Germany)
A unique and flexibly moving injection moulding machine realised by the use of CFRP. It results in new approaches for the design and production of lightweight parts in multi-material design.
The core innovation of the ROBIN machining technology results from the combination of high-performance composite materials and functional lightweight design. The heart of the machine is the lightweight C-frame clamping unit, which achieves a previously unattained total weight of approx. 140 kg for a complete injection moulding system. The patented C-frame consists of several carbon-fibre reinforced (CFRP) lamellae, each with a layer structure optimised for maximum stiffness and minimum mass. The CFRP lamellae can be adapted to the required cantilever arm length and clamping forces in a process-specific manner. In order to maximise the lightweight design of the system and still ensure the reproducibility of the process, elastic deformation of the CFRP brackets during the injection moulding process is deliberately permitted. The required positioning accuracy of the two mould halves is ensured by guide kinematics. Different configurations with clamping forces between 6 and 12 t with cantilever arm lengths between 300 and 600 mm can be implemented.
Ultimately, this system technology makes it possible to rethink the injection moulding process and, for the first time, to bring the system and the mould to the part rather than the other way round. This new machining mobility allows integrating the injection moulding process into continuous process lines such as extrusion or pultrusion. Like this, profiles made out of various materials can be easily functionalised using the ROBIN system. Conventionally required joining processes with e.g. additional adhesives can thus be eliminated.
- Flexible manufacturing system
- Individualised product design
- Smallest plant and mould sizes
- Economic production for small quantities
- Easy integration into production lines
Green Nacelle – first offshore nacelle madeof NFC
Greenboats GmbH (Germany)
Partner(s) : Bcomp Ltd. (Switzerland), Sicomin (France)
The Green Nacelle is the first NFC structure built for a wind turbine. Replacing GFRP with a biobased composite solution shows how the wind energy industry can lower its environmental impact.
This project demonstrates how large composite structures such as a nacelle for an offshore wind turbine can be built with natural fibres and biobased resins instead of the conventional glass fibre reinforced construction. At the same time, this nacelle showcases how natural fibre composites (NFC) can be used for structural applications and components.
The combination of Bcomp’s ampliTex™ flax reinforcement fabrics with FSC-certified balsa wood cores and Sicomin’s biobased Infugreen 810 GreenPoxy® resin system is easy to process consistently and performs well in large scale components without sacrificing any performance. Most importantly this natural fibre composite solution is ready to scale up and supply on an industrial level.
Flax fibres have a significantly lower global warming potential than glass fibres due to their organic origin. During its growth phase the flax plant sequestrates CO2 from the atmosphere. The fibres are obtained from the plant via a purely natural and mechanical process without the use of any harmful chemicals. Combine this with a biobased resin system that further lowers the CO2 footprint compared to conventional resin systems and the result is a far superior solution in terms of sustainability without any performance sacrifices.
The global wind energy industry is facing the fact that the first generation of wind turbines are about to reach their end of life. Well established recycling options for large-scale glass fibre composite structures are still scarce at this time and the industry needs to consider more sustainable materials for the next generation of wind turbines.
- Low eco-footprint
- Viable end of life options
- Lower energy consumption during manufacturing
- Renewable raw materials
- More comfortable to work with
PU-based composite for offshore wind turbine rotor blades
Covestro Deutschland AG (Germany)
Partner(s) : Trelleborg Group (UK)
A polyurethane-based composite for more productive offshore wind turbine blades with new development opportunities for radar interference mitigation and high performance, environmental coatings.
An innovation resulting from a collaboration between Covestro and Trelleborg Applied Technologies.
Covestro PU resin offers high productivity and the possibility to design longer and lighter blades. By real-scale prototyping, Covestro and its partners demonstrated short production cycles with fast infusion and fast curing, resulting in significant savings in blade manufacturing. Computer modeling predicts a 100 m PU blade to be lighter
and more resilient than those made of epoxy. For its processability and final properties, Covestro PU resin enables the design of new blades for high annual energy production (AEP) and low levelised cost of energy (LCoE).
This resin may be enhanced by Trelleborg’s Frame® radar absorbing material. Its incorporation into low viscosity PU results in a system with excellent dispersion and high potential for development of composite parts. Cured samples were tested using a vector network analyser and a dual-polarised horn at frequencies of 1-12 GHz, which are of interest to offshore radar operators. The system offers a ~30 dB reduction in incident electromagnetic wave power compared to standard materials. Computer simulations show a >99.9% reduction of radar cross section in a typical
9.5 MW offshore wind turbine, suggesting that Frame® PU composites may help developers ease the radar planning permission process.
Covestro offshore wind turbine coatings include a Solvent-Free Gelcoat (SFG), a 2k Water Based Topcoat (WBT), and a polyaspartic-based LEP coating. These coatings offer: (i) high productivity due to high film buildup and few layers of SFG; (ii) a liquid LEP process with reduced manual work compared to a tape-process and improved durability due to strong adhesion to substrates; the LEP coating withstands a Helicopter Rain Erosion test 3x longer than a conventional tape; and (iii) a 75% reduction of VOC emissions of WBT having comparable performance, and adaptable to existing application processes.
- High productivity in manufacturing
- Lighter, longer, more durable blades
- Mitigating wind turbine radar interference
- Low emission, high performance coatings
- Potential higher AEP, lower LCoE
DANU – a sustainable and recyclable composite
The Ultimate Boat Company (UK)
Partner(s) : Finot-Conq Architectes (France)
DANU is a super-strong, sustainable composite with impressive mechanical properties. Considerably stronger than GRP, impact resistant and with tensile strength figures close to carbon fibre.
DANU is comprised of a combination of a styrene-free resin and sustainable fibres. UBC started the development of DANU when the pollution from yachting become a growing concern. In response, it developed DANU to be stronger and lighter than GRP, sustainable and circular (no end of life), and, for production, identical to conventional yacht building (provided that vacuum infusion is used). The materials used in DANU are all natural. Each component can be
reversed to its virgin state without losing any technical properties. There are also numerous advantages in performance. For powerboats, weight isn’t as critical, but DANU is much stronger than GRP. For sailing and UBC’s Olympic 32 racing yacht, DANU is lighter and has much less flexibility that GRP. Less flexibility translates to less energy lost and higher performance, which remains UBC’s ultimate objective.
- Sustainable and fully recyclable composite
- Considerably stronger than fibreglass
- Less brittle than carbon fibre
- Lightweight and impact resistant
- NIJ Level III/IIIA ballistics resistant