ENGEL, headquartered in Austria, provides one-stop customized manufacturing units for the efficient and cost-effective mass production of fiber composite components. From September 3 to 5, 2019, at the China International Composite Industry Technology Exhibition in Shanghai, the injection molding machine manufacturer and system solution provider will demonstrate a wide range of technologies, from the processing of organic sheets and UD strips to the moulding of HP-RTM and SMC, with the help of examples from the automotive industry.
"For many years, the Chinese government has been vigorously promoting the development of electric vehicles." Christian Wolfsberger, Manager of Composite Technology Business Development at ENGEL, explained the particularity of the Chinese market. "Therefore, the theme of lightweight has a unique impetus for the development of Asia as a whole, and ENGEL actively participates in it. For a long time, ENGEL has been one of the preferred partners in the local automotive industry. In 2012, ENGEL set up the Lightweight Composite Technology Center in Austria to work with other enterprises and universities to develop new cost-effective processes for mass production of lightweight components of fiber reinforced composites. At China International Composite Industry Technology Exhibition, the company will introduce a series of current projects and ongoing development work.
Processing and functionalization of thermoplastic continuous fiber reinforced semi-finished products (such as organic sheets or UD strips) using ENGEL organomelt process will become a major focus of the ENGEL exhibition stand. Last year, the world's first mass-produced application was launched in the United States: Starting with organic sheet metal, Valeo in Smyrna, Tennessee, is a leading German OEM front-end bracket with integrated ducts. The structural component was awarded an automobile prize by the American Society of Plastic Engineers (SPE) in 2018. The component has a very high proportion of organic sheet metal, which can significantly reduce weight and improve collision performance. In addition, because of the double-shell structure, the air pipeline can be directly integrated into the support structure.
The system solutions provided by ENGEL for automatic batch production include a duo 1700 injection moulding machine, three easix multi-joint manipulators for preparing a large number of metal inserts and processing of organic plates, a viper 90 linear manipulator and an ENGEL infrared furnace. ENGEL provides one-stop manufacturing cell as a system solution. Two half-shells are injected into the same mould at one time. For this reason, two organic plates will be heated in the infrared furnace at the same time. However, they will be inserted into the mold, formed in this way, and then functionalized in the same mold by injection immediately.
Organic sheets are glass fibers based on polypropylene matrix. Similarly, fiberglass reinforced polypropylene is used for injection moulding. Only by this continuous thermoplastic method can the forming process and functionalization be combined, and the supporting structure and functional components can be firmly connected. "Fully automatic one-off injection molding process plays an important role in reducing unit cost. Another advantage is that fully using thermoplastic polymers simplifies the development of recycling schemes, and parts can be sent back to the material cycle at the end of service life." Wolfsberger stressed. "We see that the lightweight of thermoplastic composites is becoming more and more concerned by product developers." If you want to know the theme in detail, Simon Liu, head of Process Department of Engel Machinery (Shanghai) Co., Ltd., and Valeo will introduce the project and the processing of UD tapes at AIC in the conference area next to Pavilion 4 at 11 o'clock on the first day of the exhibition.