Composite Body Panel System in Production
Korean automotive supplier LG Hausys Ltd. Is deploying high-pressure resin transfer molding (HP-RTM) to produce visible body panels such as roofs with carbon-fiber reinforced plastics. The system was sourced from KraussMaffei (kraussmaffei.com), which produces the RimStar Compact 8/4/8 metering system that provides material to the Dieffenbacher press.
According to KraussMaffei and LG Hausys, the system development started in 2014 at a technical center in Munich. Participants included the research organization Fraunhofer ICT, mold designer Alpex, Dow Chemicals for the epoxy materials, Roding for the preforms, and Dieffenbacher for the presses.
The initial work paid off because as Minihee Lee, LG Hausys vice president, says, “The HP-RTM system was ready for production right after being commissioned, and since then it has been producing components that are free of defects and meet the required quality requirements.”
The system is capable of processing both polyurethane and epoxy as the matrix material. Also, the system can perform the KraussMaffei-developed compression resin transfer molding (C-RTM) process. In this process, the matrix material is fed into the mold when it is slightly open rather than closed so that the preform is partially saturated by resin. Then there is a compression stroke that presses the resin through the preform so that it is entirely saturated. This approach means that the cavity pressure and clamping force are both down by about 30 percent and because it is possible to produce with a higher discharge capacity, cycle times can be reduced.
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