World-leading plastics processing machinery specialist, Krauss Maffei of Munich Germany has developed a hybrid thermoforming injection process in conjunction with Audi AG, Bond Laminates, the Institute for Composite Materials, Jacob Plastics Group and Lanxess.
Developed under a German government supported project, the new SpriForm thermoforming injection moulding process by Krauss Maffei is ideal for lightweight structural components used particularly in the automotive industry but can also potentially suit applications in the aircraft, leisure craft and agricultural machinery industries.
Fibre composite technology is becoming more popular in lightweight automotive construction with plastics increasingly being used as an automotive material.
The new hybrid thermoforming injection moulding process combines the advantages of thermoplastic injection moulding and thermoforming of continuous fibre-reinforced, semi-finished products (organic sheets) for applications in structural lightweight components.
The organic sheets are slab-like in shape and the reinforcing fibre is impregnated with a polyamide (PA) matrix. The sheet for an impact protection application for instance, is comprised of six 0.5mm fibre layers and a PA6 matrix.
In the fully automated SpriForm production cell, individual sheets pre-heated by an infrared oven are robotically inserted into an injection mould where they are fixed in place by an infrared oven. Simultaneously, a finished part on the other side of the mould is removed. The newly inserted sheet is then formed and back injected with ribs and fully over moulded edges.
Krauss Maffei has applied its injection moulding compounder to the production cell so that the fibre content and length can be adjusted according to the part requirement.
Krauss Maffei is represented in Oceania by HBM Packaging & Plastics Technologies .