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12th March 2019, Paris

Important milestones for mass adoption of advanced composites

Under the theme ‘Innovations of Scale’, Sabic is highlighting its most recent accomplishments. © Sabic

Under the theme ‘Innovations of Scale’, Sabic is highlighting its most recent accomplishments. © Sabic

Sabic, a leader in the chemical industry, is highlighting at JEC World 2019 that opens in Paris today the most recent accomplishments that propel its long-term strategy in enabling the mass adoption of advanced thermoplastic composites. The company has achieved important milestones with its cutting-edge Digital Composites Manufacturing line for automated, large-scale laminate production, in partnership with Airborne; and with new applications using versatile UDMAX unidirectional, fibre-reinforced thermoplastic composite tape.

From an industry collaboration perspective, Sabic has recently become a member of CompositesNL for expanded collaboration and advocacy to advance the composites industry from The Netherlands. “Creating the right conditions for broader adoption of thermoplastic composites requires major advancements on multiple levels,” said Gino Francato Global Business Leader, Advanced Composites, Sabic.

“Taking the lead on this, Sabic is implementing a holistic global strategy. From our revolutionary new Digital Composites Manufacturing line to the adoption of our advanced UDMAX thermoplastic composite tapes in several industries to our active involvement in industry associations and more, each initiative we have undertaken is playing an important part. We are confident that as this strategy continues to unfold it will significantly move the needle in diversifying thermoplastic composite applications, for the benefit of our customers.”

Wide-ranging applications

Sabic is displaying at JEC World 2019 several applications that highlight the versatility of UDMAX tapes. These strong, lightweight materials feature Sabic’s proprietary high-pressure fibre impregnation technology (HPFIT). They can be laminated and stamped, compression moulded, thermoformed and wound – with or without injection overmoulding.

To demonstrate this diversity, the company is displaying UDMAX tape applications from the automotive, consumer products and industrial sectors. They include an interior bulkhead and a sandwich panel for light commercial vehicles, protective accessories for tree climbing footwear and multi-layer membrane pipes for air filtration.

A highlight of the Sabic stand is the bulkhead for light commercial vehicles (LCV), which is produced using a highly efficient, one-shot process of lamination and low-pressure moulding. As the replacement for a traditional metalised component, it reduces mass by 35%, which may help to promote better fuel economy, reduce emissions, allow larger payloads and facilitate assembly.

Automated, digitised manufacturing

Sabic is also providing an advanced look at its new Digital Composites Manufacturing line using 360-degree virtual reality. Called Innovations of Scale, this display is an immersive experience that helps to demonstrate key aspects of the line, which has successfully completed its pilot phase and is transitioning to full-scale production. This automated, digital system is designed for rapid, custom-made, large-scale manufacturing of consistent, high quality laminates made from Sabic’s composites.

Innovation award finalist

In recognition of its cutting-edge concepts and technologies, including robotics, the Digital Composites Manufacturing line was named one of the three finalists in the Industry & Engineering category of the 2019 JEC Innovation Awards. The manufacturing line’s innovative technologies can be seen in its three major systems:

  • Front-end system featuring high-speed feeding of UD tapes, which are fully inspected, laminated and welded. Tapes can be spliced in process.
  • Press system, for high speed consolidation with fully automated product transfer and handling of press plates. The consolidation system is loaded and unloaded by robots and can consolidate four laminates in a 1-minute cycle.
  • Back-end system that automatically separates the laminates from the press plates and trims and inspects them.

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