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ENGEL to highlight thermoplastics-based solutions at China Composites Expo
Source:Adsale Plastics Network    Editor:JK    Date:28.Jul.2020

ENGEL has been developing cost-effective production concepts for the manufacture of composite parts with its injection moulding and automation experience. This year, the company will highlight its thermoplastics-based solutions at China Composites Expo 2020 from 2 to 4 September in Shanghai.

 

The ENGEL organomelt process is used for fully automated production of front end carriers for Daimler and other products. "We are seeing great interest in the organomelt process from car manufacturers and tier 1 suppliers in China", reports Markus Fuchs, Director Business Unit Automotive Asia at ENGEL.


In the organomelt process, thermoplastic fibre composite prepregs based on thermoplastic fabrics and unidirectional (UD) fiberglass or carbon fibre reinforced tapes are heated in infrared ovens specially developed for this technology.

 

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ENGEL integrates all processing steps for the manufacture of fibre composite components in an efficient and automated production process.

 

The thermoplastic composite material is brought into the injection mould by a robot, where it is formed and functionalized in a single step. Using injection moulding, reinforcing ribs or assembly elements, for example, can be over-moulded directly.

 

Composite parts created using the ENGEL organomelt process combine a light weight with good crash safety capabilities. As this process undergoes further development, ENGEL is working on the production aspects of load-compliant composite part design.

 

In order to adapt the component geometry to the required lightweight properties, several different prepregs – for example, thermoplastic fabrics of different thicknesses or UD tapes – will in the future be combined for each component.


ENGEL develops for its customers integrated and fully automated solutions for the entire process from a single source. To be cost-effective in high-volume production, the processes of laying and consolidating the stacks (tape laying) must be inline and occur within the cycle of the injection moulding process. To allow this to happen, ENGEL combines a tape laying cell and a consolidation unit. The integrated process can manufacture fit-for-purpose preforms in a cycle time of just one minute.


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The tape laying unit developed by ENGEL delivers tailor-made prepregs in a one-minute cycle time.


In order to achieve the shortest possible cycle times, the tape laying cell developed by ENGEL relies on the pick-and-place principle with optical image processing. The individual tape layers are picked up, visually checked, placed in a controlled position and spot-welded together.

 

ENGEL and its partner FILL have developed a production unit based on the heating/cooling principle for the consolidation process which follows immediately downstream. In a fully-automated process, this system consolidates the fibre stacks into a solid panel, while retaining thickness variations introduced in a targeted manner.

 

At China Composites Expo, ENGEL is using an example from the field of lightweight duroplastics design to demonstrate that production efficiency can still be improved – even for long-established technologies. The rear seat panel of the Audi A8 has a complex carbon fibre structure and local reinforcements. Series production is by a supplier from Germany using an ENGEL v-duo 1700 machine with the fully automated HP-RTM process.

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