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27th October 2017, Berlin

AVK award for BMW hybrid development

A photonics-enabled process chain for manufacturing functionally integrated thermoset/thermoplastic hybrid components for the automotive industry has been developed in a German project for BMW.

The development arose from initial research led by the Aachen Centre for Integrative Lightweight Production (AZL) at RWTH Aachen University and in addition to BMW, has involved partners KraussMaffei, Arges, Precitec, Sensortherm and Zeiss Optotechnik.

The achievement was recently recognised with the 2017 Innovation Award from AVK. © AVK/ BMW

The partners are now able to combine thermoset and thermoplastic using a technique suitable for large series automotive production. This is being evaluated using a structural demonstrator component of the BMW i3.

The achievement was recently recognised with the 2017 Innovation Award from AVK, the the Federation of Reinforced Plastics, in the research and science category.

The innovation lies in the understanding of the complex interactions between the various parts of the system, the processes and the process parameters, as well as the development of the integration solution for the complete manufacturing cell. The ability to combine different plastics in one component opens new possibilities for adapting properties more effectively to the requirements of a specific area of application – e.g. car body components. The entire process chain for the preform right up to quality assurance is integrated into a single manufacturing cell based on an injection moulding machine. This too, is unique.

The potential savings in material and operating costs throughout the process chain are approximately 20% and the technology is also suitable for producing components for other sectors such as mechanical engineering and plant construction, and energy and environmental technologies.

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