When it comes to lightweight design with carbon fibre reinforced plastics (CFRP), efficient series production is key to further establish this material class in more applications and industries. Fibre placement – and automated, load-path optimised, material efficient laying and cutting of fibres – plays an important role, as this method is ideal for industrial production.
Following the premiere of the FPC at JEC World in Paris this March, the FPC officially celebrated its opening on 17 September with around 150 guests from the fields of politics, science and industry.
With a space of over 500 m², the FPC enables customers to develop new production concepts and demonstrate them in prototype production. In addition, SGL Carbon can begin high-volume production of fibre reinforced components. Both dry and pre-impregnated fibres with thermoplastic matrix systems will be processed.
Preparation for projects for secondary and primary structural parts with aerospace companies and various automotive parts manufacturers worldwide are already underway. The centre’s work is closely linked with that of SGL Carbon’s Lightweight and Application Centre (LAC), also located at the Meitingen site, where the company works with customers to develop innovative lightweight structures, processes and prototypes.
The FPC team consists of engineers, PhD students and technicians, so that all relevant core disciplines can be covered along the composite manufacturing process chain.
“For us as SGL Carbon, series production of composite-based lightweight components is a crucial element of our company and growth strategy,” states Dr Jürgen Köhler, CEO of SGL Carbon. “We want components made of fibre reinforced plastics to become a standard in every major industry. One key is the right production methods – with fibre placement being one of several trendsetting approaches. With the new centre, we can now offer this technology, originally coming from the aerospace industry, also to other sectors at an industrial level.”
“Thanks to the FPC, we have bundled profound expertise in the area of fibre placement, along with a truly impressive set-up of equipment,” explains Andreas Wüllner, Head of the Composites – Fibres & Materials business unit at SGL Carbon. “For many of our customers, this is a promising opportunity to exceed existing process capabilities for serial production of components made from fibre reinforced plastic.”
“The Fibre Placement Centre clearly reflects the mission of the Fraunhofer Society, to provide substantial support in knowledge transfer to the industry by means of applied research and to advance the industrialisation of fibre reinforced plastics,” adds Dr Klaus Drechsler, Director of Fraunhofer IGCV and Head of the Carbon Composites chair at TU Munich. “Besides our daily cooperation at the centre, we also try to reinforce the knowledge transfer, for example with dissertations at the FPC and by combining research with different MAI Carbon projects sponsored by the German federal government as part of the Spitzencluster competition or with Campus Carbon 4.0 projects.”
Companies: SGL Carbon