Creative Composites begins Class A body panels molding
Dieffenbacher’s CompressEco series, used for production of Creative Composite’s SMC Class A body panels for automotive applications, enables higher productivity and larger component sizes.
Source | Dieffenbacher
Creative Composites (Lisburn, U.K.) announced in May the production of sheet molding compound (SMC) Class A exterior automotive components using two Dieffenbacher (Windsor, Ontario, CAN), CompressEco presses. Selecting and installing its first press from this series in 2018, Creative Composites is now operating two identically designed CompressEco presses two years later.
“With its modular system enabling future expansions and press forces up to 30,000 kilonewtons, the CompressEco was just the right press for the applications we had in mind,” says Jonathan Holmes, managing director at Creative Composites. “A range of Class A body panels for world-leading automotive brands is just one example. The rigid design of the press and the active high-speed parallelism control enabled us to significantly increase both productivity and the size of components we can produce.”
During a typical molding process, anomalies may occur, causing problems like uneven part thicknesses or high mechanical stress on the press. Dieffenbacher says that its high-speed parallelism control compensates for these anomalies by ensuring parallel movement of the mold cavities. This function also is said to make one-shot production of a Class-A surface possible through a direct in-mold coating (IMC) process.
In recent years, Dieffenbacher says it has optimized the strong economics of the CompressEco and combined its benefits with those of the CompressLite and CompressPlus series. The result is the new Fiberpress series. Steffen Maier, sales manager at Dieffenbacher, says, “We very much look forward to collaborating with Creative Composites again to help them address new challenges with the Fiberpress or other advanced solutions tailored to their needs.”
Recycling of carbon fiber, glass fiber and — at last — resins, is growing as new players enter the space.
Dale Brosius, the chief commercialization officer for the Institute for Advanced Composites Manufacturing Innovation (IACMI) and a regular CW columnist, sees a shift in the industry from infighting between proponents of thermoset and thermoplastic composites to a healthier competitive atmosphere that serves to make composites overall more competitive with legacy materials.
There are numerous methods for fabricating composite components. Selection of a method for a particular part, therefore, will depend on the materials, the part design and end-use or application. Here's a guide to selection.