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3rd September 2019, Stamford, CT

Hexcel’s innovations at Composites Europe 2019

Corima’s aerodynamic 3-spoke wheel. © Hexcel

Corima’s aerodynamic 3-spoke wheel. © Hexcel

Hexcel will promote an array of composite technologies that were developed to benefit design engineers working in automotive, marine, sport, and wind energy industries at this year’s Composites Europe trade show in Stuttgart that takes place from 10-12 September.

Innovations on display include Hexcel’s surfacing prepregs and semi-pregs for wind turbine blades and boat building. Providing a tough, durable and ready-to-paint surface without using in-mould coats, these fibre-reinforced matrix products are designed to shorten manufacturing cycles and reduce material costs.

Hexply XF2 prepreg has a ready-to-paint surface, straight from the mould, and is said to save at least two hours of takt time for wind blade production. A leading boat builder has manufactured a composite panel to demonstrate the benefits of HexPly XF2 surface prepreg combined with Hexcel’s Superfit technology. Marine customers in the UK are provided expert support by Mouldlife, part of Hexcel’s Official Distributor network.

Latest golf shaft design

Hexcel will also be displaying the latest golf shaft design from True Temper, made from Hextow carbon fibre. The new Project X Smoke Green shafts utilise Hexcel’s Hextow HM63 carbon fibres with the plies angled to provide added stability for the strongest swingers. “HexTow HM63 was the perfect fibre for our new Smoke Green shaft.  This shaft is designed for the strongest golfers in the world, and the high modulus of the HexTow HM63 fibre allows us to build an extremely stable yet lightweight shaft,” said Don Brown, Senior Director of Marketing and Innovation for True Temper.

Aerodynamic 3-spoke wheel

Bike wheel manufacturer Corima has used Hexcel’s composite materials for many years to manufacture competition wheels used by cycling champions. Corima’s latest three-spoke wheel will be displayed at Composites Europe, showcasing the highly effective use of Hexcel’s carbon fibre prepreg and reinforcements.

With this new aerodynamic three-spoke wheel, race competitors are exceeding speeds of 100km per hour in time trials. The wheel is compression moulded using structural foam and Hexcel’s lightweight Primetex 98gsm 3k fabrics and Hexply prepreg. Corima perfected the design using their in-house CAD, FEA and prototyping, plus wind-tunnel and track tests. The benefits are superior stiffness for enhanced power transfer, vibration absorption for a quiet and more comfortable ride, and reliability and lightness.

Automotive promotions

Hexcel’s automotive promotions focus on the company’s mastery of prepreg technology, where fibre reinforcements are supplied pre-impregnated with precise amounts of epoxy resin. Hexply M901 prepreg was developed specifically for composite leaf springs, allowing weight savings of up to 70% to be achieved compared to traditional steel designs. Composite leaf springs resist corrosion, are easy to integrate into suspension systems, and provide very high levels of performance. Hexcel’s display at Composites Europe will include a composite leaf spring manufactured by ZF using new HexPly M901 glass fibre prepreg that cures in less than 15 minutes and provides 15% higher mechanical performance than competing products with enhanced fatigue properties. It also operates at high temperatures, with a Tg of up to 200°C following a post cure.

CFRP transmission cross member

Hexcel will also display a lightweight CFRP transmission cross member produced from Hexcel’s high-performance Hexmc-i 2000 moulding compound. Designed to connect the chassis together and support vehicle transmission, the transmission cross member was developed by Hexcel in partnership with the Institute of Polymer Product Engineering (at Linz University), Engel and Alpex.

To produce the transmission cross member HexMC-i 2000 preforms are laid up in Alpex moulds and compression-moulded in a v-duo press that was tailored for the application by Engel. Ribs, aluminium inserts, and other functions can be moulded into the part using the single-stage process, reducing component count. Any offcuts from the preforms can be interleaved between the plies of material to provide additional reinforcement in key areas, which means that the process generates no waste.

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