Duesseldorf, Germany - Henkel AG & Co. KGaA's know-how in the field of polyurethane-based composite matrix resins and the expertise of KraussMaffei, one of the world's leading makers of processing machinery for plastics, have combined to produce a rapid-curing resin and process for PU composites.
The curing time of Henkel's matrix polyurethane resin Loctite MAX 2 has been cut to just one minute. Henkel says that this significant improvement on the original goal of five minutes relates to a performance result achieved for the first time on a high-pressure dosing unit.
In the collaboration between Henkel and KraussMaffei Technologies, a lightweight component in the form of a cover for a car central console, has been made using carbon fibres supplied by Zoltek impregnated by Loctite MAX 2 from Henkel.
The rapid curing time is a further breakthrough in the development of composite matrix resins for the manufacture of lightweight components in the automotive industry. Loctite MAX 2 is a recent Henkel development - a polyurethane-based composite matrix resin that cures significantly faster than the epoxy products usually employed for the resin transfer moulding process (RTM). Moreover, due to its low viscosity, Henkel says, Loctite MAX 2 penetrates and impregnates the fibre material more easily and less harshly than competitive solutions, enabling very short injection times to be applied.
Carbon or glass fibre-reinforced composite materials, offering low weight combined with high strength, continue to gain in significance for the manufacture of motor vehicle components.
Henkel notes that, particularly for mass-produced automobiles, resin injection processes such as RTM predominate for making automotive composites. "And now, with Henkel's matrix resin technology competence combined with the high-pressure technology of KraussMaffei, the production of these composites is destined to become even more cost-efficient and reliable," said Frank Deutschländer, global market manager for automotive at Henkel, in the company's announcement.
The next goal of Henkel's collaboration with KraussMaffei is to further reduce manufacturing cycle times of as wide a range of components as possible. "We are confident that, in the near future, we will be able to significantly further develop the high-pressure RTM process through our cooperation with Henkel," said Erich Fries, head of the Composites/Surfaces business unit at KraussMaffei, in Henkel's statement.