With this new line, Voith aims to elevate the industrialisation of composites production to a new level, as it continues to target growth in the automotive and aerospace markets with the production of carbon composite components.
The patented Voith Roving Applicator (VRA) is the core of this production line producing the CFRP rear panel for the new Audi A8. This high-load structural component has a complex carbon fibre structure with local reinforcements and is produced using direct fibre placement technology. Robust preforming without gaps and creases is crucial to meet the stringent quality and cycle time requirements, and Voith developed a new, highly efficient forming simulation method to enable the required segmented stamp forming process, which follows the VRA fibre placement process.
After the preforming, a high-pressure resin transfer moulding (HP-RTM) process is used to inject the matrix through the fibre material. Subsequently the parts are trimmed in a milling process, followed by fully automated assembly with metallic subcomponents. The transport between the single process steps is done by robotic systems, leading to a new level of production automation of composite components.
“With a whole new digital 4.0 production line, we are setting new standards producing carbon fibre parts for high-volume automotive serial production,” states Voith Composites Managing Director Dr Lars Herbeck. “Our smart factory concept allows the automated production of CFRP components in almost any shape and individual lot sizes.”
At JEC World 2018, Audi, together with Voith, Dow Automotive and Zoltek, won a JEC Innovation Award in the Automotive Process category for the high-volume CFRP production line of the Audi A8 rear wall module a JEC Innovation Award. The foundations for this large-scale production were laid by the development partnership between Voith Composites and Audi, which has been in place since 2011.
“A bodywork in the design of the Audi Space Frame stands for consequent lightweight design,” says Dr Bernd Mlekusch, Head of the Lightweight Design Centre, Audi. “Together with Voith, we have developed an ultra-stiff carbon rear wall, which is the largest component of the passenger cell of the new Audi A8. It contributes highly to the stiffness of the overall vehicle.”
Industries: Automotive and Road Transportation