Main processes and variants currently used for processing composite materials reinforced with fibre
In recent years nature is giving signals which are becoming more and more visible, alerting us to the climatic change in which the emission of gases that retain heat seems to be speeding up the process. Levels of the so called greenhouse gases are the highest recorded in the last 65,000 years.
The result of all of this is known as global warming, which is causing a series of changes to the Earth’s climate and to long-term meteorological patterns that vary depending on location. Reducing these gases is vital for lessening the effects and to slow it down if not to stop it.
Road transport is the second sector which produces the most greenhouse gases in the European Union and furthermore, these emissions, including commercial vehicles, are on the increase. That is why the EU, in particular for the automotive industry, has approved the reduction of CO2 emissions of cars from 130g/km foreseen for 2015 to 95g/km in 2020.
Knowing the objectives to be met and given the magnitude of the technological leap to be made, the automotive industry is actively taking steps to adopt measures such as the development of much more efficient engines than could be found in the 1980-90s. Thus, smaller cylinder engines are obtained with equal or greater power, more efficient aerodynamics which allow better penetration of the vehicle in the air, and a substantial reduction in weight, all resulting in lower fuel consumption. It is with regard to this last point that composite materials resurface in force, given their potential to offer lightness, strength and aesthetic benefits, slowly gaining ground on metal sheeting for those parts where the cost difference is less and of little significance.
All of the advances that are taking place in the manufacture of these types of semi-structural parts are due to the great advances that are occurring in the world of materials and resins, but it is also important to point out the advances that are occurring in the improvement of apparently mature processes and the emergence of new variants that allow us to dream of a bright future for their use in the automotive sector.
This article includes an explanatory summary of the main processes and variants currently used for the processing of composite materials, in which Fagor Arrasate is working to obtain the knowledge and technology with which to provide complete installations capable of producing parts made from composite materials.