Arburg & Dieffenbacher Collaborate on Molding Thermoplastic Composites
Arburg’s Fiber Direct Compounding injection unit plus Dieffenbacher’s vertical press yields a system for structural automotive TP composites.
Based on favorable results of a joint research project, Arburg and Dieffenbacher will cooperate in supplying systems for molding hybrid composite components. The companies were two of 14 partners from industry and R&D participating in the MoPaHyb project (short for modular production plant for economical manufacturing of high-performance hybrid structures), funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF). A production system incorporating an Arburg size 4600 modular injection unit (1810 to 2827 cm3 shot capacity) equipped for fiber direct compounding (FDC), together with a Dieffenbacher 3600-metric-ton vertical press, Dieffenbacher Fiberforge thermoplastic unidirectional tape-laying system, Kuka six-axis robot, Siemens controller, and other components was assembled at Fraunhofer ICT in Germany. Test parts for the project were an automotive seat backrest and car underbody segment.
The hybrid process exploits the efficiency of injection molding, especially for parts with thin walls. Arburg’s FDC technology feeds continuous fiber rovings into an injection barrel, allowing direct control of fiber length and concentration. Use of a vertical press allows easy insertion of UD tapes or geometric reinforcements such as ribbed structures for local reinforcement, which can be placed on the horizontal mold.
Based on the positive results of the MoPaHyb project, Dieffenbacher will offer its vertical transfer molding presses in combination with an Arburg FDC unit.
Demand for more robust plastics is creating new opportunities for radiation-crosslinked nylons, including nylon 6 and 66, which can serve as cost-effective alternatives to higher-cost, high-heat thermoplastics. Crosslinked nylons have higher heat resistance than their standard counterparts, along with better physical properties and abrasion resistance. Adapted from a paper presented at SPE ANTEC 2012.
While the nylon 66 tightness may not prove long-lasting, resin suppliers, compounders, and distributors have mobilized to offer processors an array of ‘replacement’ materials.
A new class of semi-aromatic, high-temperature nylons is being introduced to the U.S. by Kuraray America in N.Y.C.