The 200 ton machine provides the basis of a three-stage process chain, which produces fibre reinforced thermoset-thermoplastic hybrids for high-volume structural applications using photonic beam tools. To manufacture the novel fibre reinforced hybrids, continuous fibre reinforced thermoset CFRP laminates are cured and then functionalised through thermoplastic injection moulding (e.g. ribs, force transmission points). The adhesion and sealing of the epoxy-based laminate and the injection moulding compound is achieved through a laser beam pretreatment and specific process control. An innovative tool technology is used, where the component rests on the machine during the process sequence (resulting in minimal handling). Furthermore, a recently developed 3D laser scanner technology allows for a new kind of quality assured and precise laser surface processing.
AZL is the process- and system integrator for this project, which also involves BMW, KraussMaffei Technologies, ARGES, Precitec, Sensortherm and Zeiss Optotechnik.
“AZL has extensive expertise in developing combination technologies in regard to material sciences and production technology,” says Martin Würtele, Head of Technology Development at KraussMaffei Technologies. “For this research project this is extremely valuable, particularly the know-how in the area of reaction- and laser system technology.”
“We appreciate the trust given to us by another machine manufacturer, which enables the generation of impulses towards further development of machine technologies,” notes Dr. Michael Emonts, CEO of AZL. “For the first time, the project collaboration allows for a highly integrated interaction between the robot-guided 3D laser scanner technology and a polymer processing plant.”
The research efforts of the Fraunhofer Institute for Production Technology (IPT) and the Institute of Plastics Processing (IKV) in Industry and the Skilled Crafts at RWTH Aachen University provided the basis for this sophisticated process and system integration by AZL.
The technologies developed by the project will be presented during a public meeting at AZL in September.