Sankt Augustin, Germany -- Interest in lightweight solutions for the automotive industry has been growing for years, with a focus resin transfer moulding (RTM).
Polyurethane machinery expert Hennecke GmbH has now invested in an RTM centre, to give scope to potential customers and raw material partners to manufacture, test and develop high-performance parts until they are suitable for mass production.
Hennecke says that as a result, polyurethane companies can focus on aspects of the technology that ensure its suitability for mass production in terms of automation and cycle time.
Reduced vehicle weight is a major element to ensure more efficiency in future automobile manufacture. For car bodies, vehicle manufacturers are using fibre-reinforced structural components that give low weight but appropriate crash behaviour.
Hennecke says manufacture of such high-tech parts in the classical RTM process has extremely long process times as a result of its labour-intensive nature, so the industry is "desperately searching for manufacturing methods that are suitable for mass production and an adequate implementation of high volumes."
Also, users need a solution which reduces the curing times of parts.
Hennecke says its new high- pressure RTM process (HP-RTM), tackles this problem in a new way, using a tried and tested PU process: high-pressure injection of reactive mix into a mould within seconds.
With the appropriate raw material system, HP-RTM offers accelerated reaction and extremely short curing times. Also, Hennecke can exploit its decades-long experience of high-pressure metering.
This includes excellent mixheads, said the group, adding that these give high-quality, reproducible results at all times. Moreover, use of Hennecke's constant-pressure injector ensures homogeneous injection pressure - whether processing RTM systems with or without filler.
As managing director Alois Schmid said in a 17 Jan announcement: "We intend to assist our customers with the implementation of their ideas and plans already before they purchase a processing plant and support them in their investment decision-making process."
Close cooperation with raw material suppliers is one of Hennecke's traditions, according to Jens Winiarz, sales manager for Composite Spray Moulding (CSM) and new technologies: "In our customer centre for CSM polyurethane spray technology, we have already tested successful raw material systems and develop PU based sprayed products. The RTM centre will carry on this way."
PIC: Part manufactured by the HP-RTM process of Hennecke