Tokyo, Japan, March 2, 2016 --- Toho Tenax Co., Ltd., the core company of the Teijin Group's carbon fibers and composites business, announced today that its German subsidiary Toho Tenax Europe GmbH (TTE) has developed an integrated production system for carbon fiber-reinforced plastic (CFRP) that enables manufactured composite parts to be optimized for required shapes and properties.
The new production system uses a high-pressure resin transfer molding (HP-RTM) process and TTE’s own one-step carbon fiber to part technology, called Part via Preform (PvP), which it developed in 2014. One European automaker has already adopted this system and other projects are under way in the automotive industry. Research and development for the mass production of visually appealing Class-A surface parts also has been launched.
The system is based on automated PvP technology utilizing TENAX Binder Yarn, which combines carbon fiber with binder resin placed on the preform. Preforms can be manufactured without requiring intermediate steps. The yarn can be processed by random fiber placement for isotropic behavior, or by aligned uni-directional fiber placement in areas where higher mechanical performance is required. Both technologies — random and aligned uni-directional fiber placement — can be combined to meet cost and mechanical needs in any desired geometry. Also, PvP considerably reduces carbon-fiber waste compared to conventional preform production. The result is an automated, cost-effective solution for optimized manufacturing of CFRP parts tailored to the specific customer needs. The newly introduced system allows integrated production, from carbon fiber to CFRP part. The integration of PvP and HP-RTM enables the production of breakthrough composite parts very competitive to metallic materials, which can be used for large scale production.
The Teijin Group, which also developed Sereebo — the world’s first carbon fiber reinforced thermoplastic (CFRTP) — in 2013, is now exploring opportunities to apply its CFRP lineup for mass production. CFRP solutions will be expanded for specific mechanical needs and the mass production of both thermoset and thermoplastic CFRPs.
As efforts continue to reduce the weights of automobiles, it is vital that tenacity and stiffness be maintained at safe levels when reducing a vehicle’s weight. Existing metallic materials lose tenacity after thinning. Structural designing, such as u-shaping using high-tensile steel plate, is commonly used to achieve weight reduction and stiffness, but metallic materials with added tenacity are not suitable for press molding due to their low elasticity. Reducing joint positions through large-scale integral molding is one method for reducing weight, but greater levels of formability, tenacity and stiffness are still required. CFRP generally is molded by a curing process using a pressure chamber, called an autoclave. Prepreg, or carbon fiber sheet pre-impregnated with matrix resin, is layered in the mold, covered by baggings, vacuumed and then pressurized at high temperature. Autoclaved CFRPs have high strength, but they necessitate a long manufacturing cycle. Preformed RTM processing is common, but it incurs intermediate steps, higher production costs and requires chopped fiber placement on the form, which produces large amounts of carbon fiber waste. In addition, it is not suitable for forming complicated or thick shapes.
About the Teijin Group
Teijin (TSE: 3401) is a technology-driven global group offering advanced solutions in the areas of sustainable transportation, information and electronics, safety and protection, environment and energy, and healthcare. Its main fields of operation are high-performance fibers such as aramid, carbon fibers & composites, healthcare, films, resin & plastic processing, polyester fibers, products converting and IT. The group has some 150 companies and around 16,000 employees spread out over 20 countries worldwide. It posted consolidated sales of JPY786.2 billion (USD 6.6 billion) and total assets of JPY 823.7 billion (USD 6.9 billion) in the fiscal year ending March 31, 2015.
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