Cost effective lightweighting project to overmould carbon fibre composite with thermoplastic

Overmoulding carbon fibre with thermoplastic The process will overmould a carbon fibre composite with a short fibre thermoplastic to offer cost effective lightweight parts for carmakers
Carbon fibre processor, Surface Generation, has started work on an 18-month R&D project to produce affordable lightweight carbon fibre components for the automotive industry. Backed by Innovate UK, the Rutland based firm will overmould long-fibre reinforced carbon composites with a short-fibre thermoplastic to produce a range of example coupons, sub-element components and demonstrator parts.

The advanced manufacturing techniques rely on its unique PtFS process, which uses active thermal management technologies incorporated in mould faces to adjust heating and cooling levels for each mould area and process stage in real-time.

PtFS is already being used by global automotive, aerospace and consumer electronics manufacturers to improve the quality and throughput of compression and injection moulding applications and will be further developed over the course of the project.

It makes up part of a £2 million Thermoplastic Overmoulding for Structural Composite Automotive Applications (TOSCAA) project. It is joined by a consortium of firms led by SGL Carbon Fibers and including Jaguar Land Rover.

Ben Halford, chief executive of Surface Generation, said: “The benefits of lightweight carbon fibre materials have been proven… but are often uneconomic outside niche user cases. Surface Generation’s PtFS technology will extend the capability of thermoplastic overmoulding, to deliver the functional benefits of carbon composites to a new class of cost sensitive automotive components.”

Justin Cunningham

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