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4/19/2016 | 1 MINUTE READ

Hexcel to unveil high-volume carbon fiber automotive part

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Hexcel Reinforcements' (formerly Formax) HiMax carbon fiber multiaxial fabrics have been used to fabricate a high-volume part of a British automotive OEM.

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Hexcel Reinforcements UK Ltd. (formerly Formax; Leicester, UK), a manufacturer of composite reinforcements, reports that it will display a composite structure manufactured for a British automotive OEM at the Global Automotive Lightweight Materials (GALM) Europe 2016 conference this month. The demonstrator part was developed using Hexcel's HiMax carbon fiber multiaxial fabrics specifically optimized for high-volume composites manufacturing processes.

Hexcel Reinforcements UK created a non-crimp fabric that the company says features the optimum balance between drape, stability and permeability. Using an automotive-grade, standard-modulus, high-tow count carbon fiber, the company engineered a biaxial fabric with tailored stitch patterns. The high-drape HiMax reinforcement reportedly conforms to the complex mold geometry of the part, minimizing the defects typically seen with standard materials, while its permeability is optimized to enable the fast injection and cure times required for high-volume manufacturing.

The reinforcements are available in a range of fabric styles with weights per ply of 50-1,200 gsm, fiber orientations from 22.5° through to 90° in up to four layers, and a range of fiber types from high-performance fibres through to heavy-tow materials. Hexcel says the highly drapeable fabrics are suitable for parts with complex curvatures; the ultra-lightweight stitching is designed for applications that require a Class A surface finish.

HiMax fabrics can be supplied with and without powder binder making them suitable for resin transfer moulding (RTM) and infusion processes. They are available in widths of 1,270 mm as standard and up to 1,650 mm wide on application.

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