A direct compounding technology that extends thermoset composites to high volume, complex and innovative large parts production has been developed by DSM Composite Resins, Dieffenbacher and Fraunhofer ICT. The breakthrough in direct compounding technology, from raw materials to composites and parts that is set to extend the production of thermoset composites into high volume, complex and large parts and open up new market opportunities for composite applications that are not feasible with today’s thermoset processing technologies.
This unique technology which entails both a new compounding process and new raw material developments is the result of many years of research and development in direct compounding technology, and is being realised through a strategic cooperation by Dieffenbacher, the leading manufacturer of plant and machinery for forming fibre-reinforced plastics, Fraunhofer ICT the major German-based industrial research institute and DSM Composite Resins, the European market leader in structural resins.
For the new technology DSM Composite Resins has contributed resin formulation expertise and know-how including the development of a dedicated technology-enabling product portfolio of non-thickening resins. Dieffenbacher has developed the hardware systems and expertise and ICT has provided dedicated R&D and commercial-scale pilot processing capabilities. The new direct compounding technology is designed for the production of large structural parts and is set to open up new application opportunities for lightweight thermoset composites replacing conventional metal materials such as aluminium and steel. It is particularly suited for the production of geometrically complex large parts greater than 3sq.m in high volumes of approximately 700,000 units pa.
The new thermoset direct compunding technology can produce moulded thermoset compound materials in a continuous and flexible extrusion process. Key features include a computerized dosing system yielding better quality consistency and reproducible fibre impregnation. Therefore the process results in shorter cycle times through just-in-time production and eliminates a range of incremental steps in between such as paste mixing, thickening, storage and steps compared to conventional thermoset compounding processes, saving time and making part manufacturing more economical.
The three partners are now preparing the first production line which is planed to be operational in Q2-2010.