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13th September 2019, Frankfurt

AVK presents Innovation Awards 2019

The award ceremony took place during the trade fair Composites Europe from 10-12 September at Messe Stuttgart. © AVK

The award ceremony took place during the trade fair Composites Europe from 10-12 September at Messe Stuttgart. © AVK

The AVK has presented its prestigious Innovation Awards in three categories at the award ceremony that took place during the trade fair Composites Europe in Stuttgart this week. The awards recognise new and pioneering innovations and place a particular emphasis on sustainability. The jury, comprising experts in the composites industry, were impressed by the high quality of the submissions and selected the winners in three categories: Products and Applications, Processes, and Research and Science.

“It's always exciting to discover the ways in which companies and universities are working make composites even better. There is still enormous potential for the development of these economically and ecologically significant materials,” said Elmar Witten.

Innovative products and applications

In the category Innovative Products/Applications, Büfa Composite Systems, Rastede, was awarded first place for its RTM-light component with a Class A surface. Büfa-VE 6520 RTM Class A resin is designed to enable manufacturers to realise Class A GRP surfaces at just 20°C in a simple RTM-light process. Fibre print and shrink marks caused by metal inserts, flow channels, etc. – common problems with GRP – disappear. Special low-profile additives with a special formulation (EP-BisA-VE) not only compensate for shrinkage but also ensure excellent mechanical properties and a heat deflection temperature of over 100°C.

In addition, they are said to offer good adhesion to gelcoat, sandwich materials and semi-finished textile products. The resin system requires no buffer layers. This reduces the processing time for the component by around 25%. Eliminating manual tasks helps to stabilise the process and reduces surface defects by more than 40%. It also cuts VOC emissions by 50%.

Innovative processes

CEAD, Delft, was the winner in the area of Innovative Processes with its development of an additive manufacturing process, which permits the use of continuous fibres in large components required for industrial applications.

Until 2017, additive manufacturing with continuous fibres was impossible, for example, for the production of cladding elements, exterior panels for trains or autoclave moulds. The development of CFAM technology is now said to enable continuous fibres to be used in high-speed, 3D printing of large format components. It can be used to manufacture parts with dimensions of up to 4 m x 2 m x 2 m x 1.5 m. Production plants can print these products with an average output of 15 kg/h and a maximum output of 25 kg/h. The process for combining continuous fibres and thermoplastic materials on this scale has already been patented. It uses a single-screw extruder which functions with both glass and carbon fibres as well as practically all thermoplastic materials, from PP to PEEK.

Research and science

In the category Research and Science, the Technical Universities of Clausthal and Dresden shared first place for their development of a simulation-based method that offers faster infiltration of semi-finished textile reinforcement products via temporary flow channels.

The aim of the research project was to develop a simulation-based method for integrating temporary flow channels into technical textiles. These channels in the reinforced semi-finished products close after infiltration is complete. The project focused on reducing the infiltration time for large-area components. The method developed uses temporary flow channels to precisely adjust the permeability of the semi-finished textile products. Importantly, the process ensures the excellent mechanical properties of FRP components and a homogeneous arrangement of reinforcing threads in the FRP component. It achieves this by closing the flow channels once infiltration has been completed. No flow aids are required.

The new technique can reduce infiltration times for the semi-finished product by up to 50%. The novel semi-finished product enables FRP components to be manufactured quickly, economically and sustainably with low cycle times – significantly reducing component costs.

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