Toho Tenax develops production system for carbon fiber composites

The process combines Toho Tenax' Part via Preform technology with high-pressure resin transfer molding (HP-RTM) to speed manufacture of carbon fiber composites.

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Toho Tenax Co. Ltd. (Tokyo, Japan), the core company of the Teijin Group's carbon fibers and composites business, announced at JEC World 2016 that its German subsidiary Toho Tenax Europe GmbH (TTE, Wuppertal, Germany) 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 using 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 unidirectional fiber placement in areas where higher mechanical performance is required.

Both technologies — random and aligned unidirectional fiber placement — can be combined to meet cost and mechanical needs in any desired geometry, TTE says. Also, PvP reportedly 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 is said to enable the production of breakthrough composite parts competitive with metallic materials, which can be used for large-scale production.