CW Blog

In Sweden lightweight is one of the country’s strategic innovation areas. The LIGHTer (Mölndal, Sweden) network works to coordinate what is happening in research, development, technology and competence development in Swedish industry.

LIGHTer calls itself a “multi-sectorial lightweight arena.” When asked to explain, Fredrik Stig, vice director of LIGHTer and senior scientist at Swerea SICOMP (Mölndal, Sweden), a leading research institute in the field of polymer fiber composites, describes the network as “cross-disciplinary.” The network facilitates the creation of products with low weight across industries, materials and disciplines.

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Composite materials and innovations are constantly evolving. In addition to industry news, features, blog posts and podcasts, CW also maintains a comprehensive collection of product announcements provided by companies. This monthly roundup includes links to regular posts concerning the latest products of interest to the composites industry.

This month’s innovations include:

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Arevo in 2018:  Industrialized production of continuous fiber 3D-printed parts

CW has covered Arevo (Santa Clara, CA, US) since 2014. Known for its use of high-performance thermoplastic polymers, including polyetheretherketone (PEEK), polyaryletherketone (PAEK), polyetherimide (PEI) and polyphenylene sulfide (PPS), the company was also a leader in developing closed-loop robotic control for 3D printing, enabling placement of fiber in the z direction and along 3D curves. The company has a list of new developments, including its direct energy deposition (DED) process using laser heating for a 100-fold increase in production speed.

 

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Getting carbon fiber cost down

 

If you’re reading this, you’ve probably seen the recent CW news story about 4M Carbon Fiber Corp. (Knoxville, TN, US) and its continuing efforts to produce standard modulus carbon fiber from textile grade PAN (polyacrylonitrile) precursor, in partnership with Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL, Knoxville, TN, US), RMX Technologies, LLC (Knoxville, TN, US) and the University of Tennessee (here’s the link to the CW news story: https://www.compositesworld.com/news/4m-oak-ridge-national-lab-and-rmx-technologies-to-manufacture-low-cost-carbon-fiber-from-textile-pan-).

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CW has written about continuous fiber-reinforced 3D printed composites since 2014, when MarkForged released the Mark One printer at the SolidWorks World conference (Jan 26-29, 2014). We then covered Arevo and its development of multi-axis printing using continuous fiber, including in the z-direction and along contours via a robotic arm. This year, we wrote about Orbital Composites and its work with the Composites Technology Center in printing continuous fiber composites.

However, there is a company that has been printing in continuous composites since 2012. CW actually  published a short sidebar on Continuous Composites (Coeur D’Alene, ID, US) in Jan 2017 but its achievements deserve a lengthier discussion:

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