Covestro Steps Up Investment in Thermoplastic Composites
Covestro, Pittsburgh, Penn., is further developing its offerings and capabilities in continuous fiber-reinforced thermoplastic (CFRTP) composites in response to market trends and a growing demand from customers.
The Maezio brand of CFRTP composites are based on continuous carbon fibers impregnated with thermoplastics like polycarbonates. A new tape line is now commissioned in the company’s laboratory on Leverkusen, Germany, to develop new products with different fiber and resin combinations – see then in turn be scaled and commercialized at the production site in Markt Bibart in South Germany.
Says Covestro’s head of the thermoplastic composite business Lisa Ketelsen,“We’re witnessing strong market demand for thinner, lighter, and aesthetically competitive products where thermoplastic composites like Maezio are making a difference. To meet the needs of a growing range of applications we need a broader base of portfolio with different matrix materials and properties. The new tape line in combination with our mass production lines will allow us to do quick iterations and scaling based on market demand.”
One such product under development is a TPU -based CFRTP, which boasts excellent chemical resistance properties and superior flexibility in a wide temperature range. There’s a strong demand especially from the footwear and sports equipment industries for such a strong and versatile product.
At the same time, new hybrid injection molding machines are commissioned in Covestro’s CFRTP locations in Germany and China to build on processing know-how of complex, three-dimensional composite parts in support of application development across industries. Such hybrid machines combines the thermoforming of semi-finished composite parts with in-mold injection molding – a fully automated one-step processing technology which reduces cycle times and improved productivity of mass produced composite parts. Covestro is working with machinery and processing partners such as Krauss Maffei and Engel to offer customers full support in their product development process.
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