Umeco (Heanor, Derbyshire, U.K.) says that it is in the process of developing an automated manufacturing system for the high-volume production of automotive structures and components. The system consists of carbon fiber/epoxy prepreg formats that are first cut and kitted on a cutting table, then transferred to a preforming tool and loaded into a compression molding machine for processing. The automated system can handle all types of prepreg material but is focused on using Umeco’s Dform products. Ultimately, Umeco will develop and market a range of prepreg materials that will snap-cure in three to four minutes in a press-forming process, which puts the whole system in line with automotive production volume requirements.
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