Dieffenbacher, based in Eppingen, Germany, is continuing its partnership with the Fraunhofer Project Center (FPC). The Dieffenbacher Preform Center sees the FPC expand its range of applications to include those involving carbon fibre reinforced plastics.
Research at the Fraunhofer Project Center (FPC) in London, Ontario, is focused on the area of fibre composites in lightweight construction. The FPC works in close collaboration with both Western University and the Fraunhofer Institute for Chemical Technology (ICT), and is operated as an independent institute that undertakes applied research into materials development and the processing of fibre-composite materials.
The existing Dieffenbacher plants in North America have used glass-fibre reinforced thermosets (SMC) and long-fibre reinforced thermoplastics (LFT) to enable the development and production of semi-structural components. The addition of the Preform Center, which is currently under construction, is set to expand the range of applications now offered by the FPC to include processes related to high-pressure resin transfer molding (HP-RTM). Preform technology forms part of the innovative HP-RTM process, which is primarily used to produce components using carbon fiber reinforced polymers (CFRP). Previously, CFRP preforms could only be produced by hand via a cost-intensive process. At the Preform Center, production will be fully automatic — allowing the institute to continue to implement the systematic strategy of introducing series-production processes.
This technology is planned to be commissioned at the end of March, after which companies will use the research center to further develop and test the use of CFRP during the production stage.
The expansion of the HP-RTM process is based on an increasing need for procedures in the production of structural components.