New technology in lightweight construction
| Andreas Weseler
UD tape line starting operation
KraussMaffei Berstorff and Fraunhofer IMWS have jointly developed an innovative UD tape line that stands out for its worldwide unique processing performance.
The official start-up of the new line was celebrated at Schkopau-based Fraunhofer Pilot Plant Center for Polymer Synthesis and Processing (PAZ) in Saxony-Anhalt. The line is designed for producing up to 50 cm wide UD tapes at a maximum production speed of 20 meters per minute and processing temperatures of up to 350° Celsius.
UD tapes for new ways of component design
Unidirectional (UD) tapes are thermoplastic tapes composed of reinforcing fibers, e.g. made of glass or carbon, that are embedded in parallel in a thermoplastic matrix. These tapes can be placed on top of each other and fixed so that the fibers are oriented according to the specific load conditions the component is subjected to. This makes them an essential preliminary product for fiber-reinforced organic sheets of minimum possible thickness intended to be used as light-weight replacement for metal components. Due to the time-consuming and labor-intensive production processes, these plastic sheets have been used only to a limited extent in the past. Compared to other production methods for fiber-reinforced plastic components, UD tapes offer shorter production time, faster pre-preg processes and higher recycling potential than thermoset solutions. Thanks to the new KraussMaffei Berstorff line, organic sheets have now moved a decisive step forward towards use in series production.
“Owing to our close cooperation with KraussMaffei Berstorff, we can offer our customers a wide range of variants in the production of unidirectionally reinforced thermoplastics. In addition to highly efficient fiber impregnation, the unique tool geometry also provides adaptable tape thicknesses, pressure gradients and impregnating lengths in the wetting tool,” says Prof. Peter Michel, Head of the Polymer Applications Business Unit at Fraunhofer Institute for Microstructure of Materials and Systems (IMWS).