Covestro steps up investments in thermoplastic composites
The company introduces a new R&D tape line and hybrid injection molding machines for new fiber and resin combinations.
Source | Covestro
Covestro (Shanghai, China) announces that is further developing its offerings and capabilities in continuous fiber-reinforced thermoplastic (CFRTP) composites in response to market trends and a growing demand from customers.
Its Maezio brand of CFRTP composites (see “Covestro establishes CFRTP as ‘a material class of its own’”) are based on continuous carbon fibers impregnated with thermoplastics like polycarbonates. A new tape line is now commissioned in its Leverkusen laboratory to develop new products with different fiber and resin combinations (see the video below). The products’ manufacture will be scaled and commercialized at the production site in Markt Bibart in South Germany, Covestro says.
On this R&D production line, Covestro is currently developing a thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU) -based CFRTP, which is said to exhibit excellent chemical resistance properties and superior flexibility in a wide temperature range. Covestro says this product is a result of demand from markets such as the footwear and sports equipment industries.
“We’re witnessing strong market demand for thinner, lighter and aesthetically competitive products where thermoplastic composites like Maezio are making a difference,” says Lisa Ketelsen, head of the thermoplastic composite business of Covestro.
At the same time, new hybrid injection molding machines are being commissioned in Covestro’s CFRTP locations in Germany and China to build on processing knowledge of complex, three-dimensional composite parts in support of application development across industries. A hybrid injection molding machine combines the thermoforming of semi-finished composite parts with in-mold injection molding – a fully automated one-step processing technology which reduces cycle times and improved productivity of mass produced composite parts.
“We’re working closely with our machinery and processing partners such as KraussMaffei and Engel to offer customers full support in their product development process,” says Dr.-Ing. Olaf Zoellner, head of application development Europe at the polycarbonates business unit at Covestro. “A fully functional and supportive value chain with the know-how for mass production of composite parts is critical to bringing such solutions to the mainstream market.”
The structural properties of composite materials are derived primarily from the fiber reinforcement. Fiber types, their manufacture, their uses and the end-market applications in which they find most use are described.
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