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When it comes to reducing CO2 emissions in the automotive sector, the use of high yield strength steels and aluminium is not likely to be sufficient to reduce the weight of a vehicle to the required proportions. This is why it will be necessary to resort to the use of composite materials that offer an excellent combination of good mechanical properties and light weight.
We at FAGOR ARRASATE, being a leader in facilities for the automotive sector, are prepared to respond to the changes that will occur in the market in the coming years, and therefore we offer our customers facilities for composite materials.
The advantages of using composite materials in the automotive sector areas follows:
There are many types of composites. Thermoset and thermoplastic composites are two groups of materials from which lightweight components can be manufactured to achieve such ambitious goals as those of the automotive sector. The use of hydraulic presses is recommended for all compound compression processes.
The main characteristics of cells of this type are as follows:
FAGOR ARRASATE has extensive experience in the sheet moulding compound process. Our hydraulic presses include the most advanced systems for process control and energy consumption optimisation, e.g. the active parallelism control and energy efficiency management systems. The active parallelism system makes it possible to obtain high quality parts, and also allows the use of the IMC (In-Mould Coating) process for high-end surface quality.
FAGOR ARRASATE can supply this turnkey solution with our own SMC slitter. This slitter cuts rectangular portions and includes an online weight compensation system. SMC preforms can be set as well.
In order to achieve complex, continuous fibre-reinforced composites, such as structural parts, the High-Pressure Resin Transfer Moulding process is provided at FAGOR ARRASATE for customers. A complete solution is provided to obtain the final part, covering everything from the generation of the preform to the final injection and curing of the part in the press. As an alternative to High-Pressure RTM for more geometrically simple parts, FAGOR ARRASATE has been developing a Compression RTM process for more than 6 years. In comparison with the HP-RTM, its key benefits are faster impregnation cycles and a lower required injection pressure; as such a lighter press with lower energy consumption can be used, all of which translates to lower investment in equipment and therefore lower part costs. Compression RTM is a good alternative to HP-RTM for simple geometrical parts, such as bonnets, roofs and so on.
Before resin can be applied via HP-RTM or C-RTM processes, a preform of the dry fibres is needed. Several methods can be used for this purpose.
A hot drape forming line permits 3D shaping of fibre-reinforced preforms in one step. Thick CFRP blanks made of multilayered fabrics are pressed against a mould by a flexible bladder under vacuum conditions. The forming process is normally assisted by infra-red heating lamps to promote drapability. The design of our latest model has been adapted for multimaterial processing, fitted to work with either pre-impregnated or dry-fibre materials. Faster and more energy-efficient cycles are achieved with the new design, increasing the production output in response to the demands of the aerospace industry.
The system also integrates an air-cooling system.
Different composite processes can be combined to obtain a part. Furthermore, combinations of metals and composites can be produced. The combination of different materials allows a part to have different properties, while combining the best qualities of every material. The combination of different production processes is the key.
Composites - HLC