Out of 189 nominated companies, only six were awarded prizes in four different categories as part of the biennial competition held by the Bavarian Ministry for Economy, the Bavarian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, and the cooperation of the Bavarian Chambers of Craftsmanship to honor companies which have developed great innovations. Munich Composites won the price for excellent innovation in the category Start-Up for its patented “BRAIDform” process for automated, high-volume series production of hollow advanced composite components.
The prize acknowledges Munich Composites’ leadership in braiding technology, having developed a fully automated process which enables not only the optimized layup of the carbon fibers for every type of component but also production of both small and large series of complex hollow carbon fiber reinforced plastic (CFRP) parts for a substantially lower price vs. other technologies.
“This prize shows that we have always believed in our vision: it is possible to produce hollow carbon fiber components using an automated and cost efficient method”, says Olaf Rüger, Managing Director of Munich Composites. “Our serial component customers are the best proof that the market needs our technology. This prize is a high motivation to continue to improve carbon fiber production technologies.”
Munich Composites currently supplies a CFRP leg to lift up a pool in serial production, frames and saddles for bikes and a handlebar for mountain bikes. Details of products and prototypes made using BRAIDform include:
- A 740mm/29-inch long CFRP handlebar weighing only 199g/0.4 lb tested to show only 99g/0.2 lb of continuous carbon fiber reinforced plastic can sustain 200kg/441 lb of load. High volume production in Germany features short set up times for different part shapes.
- CFRP driveshaft with integral CFRP flanges, cutting weight 50 percent vs. steel with further 20% weight reduction vs. using a metal flange. Load bearing spans are comparable to metal yet steering stiffness can be tailored.
- Hollow CFRP strut brace (prototype for the BMW 3) with bonded metal flanges which reduces weight 50 percent vs. steel and 30 percent vs. aluminum. This increases to 80 percent vs. steel and 70 percent vs. aluminum when flanges are also CFRP. Optimal fiber orientation without overlapping of fiber layers including continuous circumferential fibers in a fully automated process. Demonstrated 2,500 N/562 lbf of push and pull load.
- CFRP sway bar reduces weight 50 percent vs. steel and 30 percent vs. other composite production methods with very complex geometries. Dynamically tested up to 320,000 load changes.