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9/8/2014 | 1 MINUTE READ

ENGEL places v-duo machine with BMW for HP-RTM manufacturing

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The BMW plant in Landshut, Germany has commissioned a new ENGEL v-duo vertical injection machine for high-pressure resin transfer molding (HP-RTM) processing.

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Injection machine manufacturer ENGEL (Schwertberg, Austria) is exhibiting for the first time at Composites Europe (Oct. 7-9, Düsseldorf, Germany) and is emphasizing work done at its center for lightweight composite technologies, which ENGEL operates with partner enterprises to develop processes for serial production of carbon fiber composite components.

The Technology Centre's current focus is on processing semi-finished thermoplastic products (thermoplastic fabrics and tapes), and on reactive technologies that use thermosets and thermoplastic systems, such as high-pressure resin transfer molding (HP-RTM) and in-situ caprolactam polymerisation. With sample parts, presentations and videos, ENGEL will be giving trade fair visitors a peek behind the scenes into ongoing research work, and successful customer projects.  

ENGEL also reports that in the summer of 2014, the BMW plant in Landshut, Germany also commissioned a new ENGEL production cell. On an ENGEL v-duo vertical machine, the plant manufactures large-scale, structural, fibre-plastic composite components using the HP-RTM process. BMW is one of the earliest adopters of the new ENGEL v-duo series, which was specifically designed for fiber composite applications. The ENGEL v-duo enables compact production cells with comparatively low investment costs. The machines are far more compact than the presses traditionally used for composite applications. Additionally, the machine weight is significantly lower, which reduces the foundation building overhead. Because the ENGEL v-duo does not use hydraulic accumulators and employs ENGEL's ecodrive servo-hydraulic system as a factory standard, it also said to set new standards in terms of energy efficiency for large-scale machines.

At the K trade fair 2013, ENGEL collaborated with ZF Friedrichshafen (Friedrichshafen, Germany) to present a new composite brake pedals, which is now entering series production for the first time. Using the ENGEL organomelt process, thermoplastic fabrics are heated, preformed in the mold and immediately overmoulded with polyamide. The production cell that ENGEL exhibited at K included a vertical ENGEL insert injection moulding machine, an ENGEL easix multiple axis robot and infrared oven for heating the fiber-reinforced, semi-finished products.

In designing the brake pedal, the layer structure in the thermoplastic fabric was modified to handle the load. This enabled the component weight to be reduced by around 30 percent compared to conventional steel brake pedals without impairing component properties. Moreover, the lightweight construction method renders many manufacturing process steps obsolete, which increases productivity and cuts unit costs.

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