Berndorf Band Group improves modular double-belt press system for high-rate thermoplastic production

New modules enable tailoring for advanced thermoplastic composites including woven, UD and crossply laminates, plus sandwich panels.


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Berndorf Band Group double-belt press system.

Photo Credit: Berndorf Band Group

Building on the experience gained from extensive testing with leading market players, Berndorf Band Group (Berndorf, Austria) has recently improved its modular double-belt press technology for the continuous consolidation of thermoplastic composite laminates by integrating two innovative modules for high temperature/high pressure and adjustable cooling zones. The innovation reportedly enables high-rate production of high-performance thermoplastic composites while also meeting quality standards, offering a breakthrough compromise between throughput and process flexibility. The innovation will be available for customer testing at Berndorf’s R&D center.

The company notes that several years of extensive customer testing have been conducted with industry leaders on an 800-millimeter-wide pilot-scale asset at Berndorf’s R&D center. These trials have demonstrated the suitability of the technology for the consolidation of laminates based on unidirectional (UD) tapes, especially in the engineering plastics segment (PP, PA).

However, says Berndorf, the market is also demanding new methods for the void-free impregnation of woven fabric laminates, including in the high-performance thermoplastics segment (PPS, PEI, PEEK). This poses new challenges with regard to the pressure capability and temperature control that the asset must be able to achieve. To address these needs, Berndorf Band Group developed two additional modules that can be integrated into its modular double-belt press concept; these modules have the following characteristics:

  • Module 1 is an impregnation and consolidation module with high-pressure zones; it can be heated to more than 400°C/752°F and is suitable for the processing of viscous and/or high-temperature thermoplastic materials.
  • Module 2 is a temperature-control module with individually adjustable cooling zones; these can operate in the range 100–300°C/ 212-572°F and meets the polymer-dependent cooling rate requirements of the aerospace industry in particular.

These new modules, says Berndorf, now complement the set of four different modules already available. The company says they will further extend the possibilities offered by its modular approach to tailor machine configurations to the specific needs of the targeted product forms, such as woven fabric laminates, crossply UD laminates or sandwich panels.

Berndorf Band Group will expand its pilot-scale asset at its R&D facility with the two new modules, offering potential customers the possibility to evaluate the capabilities of its state-of-the-art double-belt press technology and appreciate the benefits in terms of line speed and product quality for their specific material developments.

This post is courtesy of the CompositesWorld and AZL Aachen GmbH media partnership.