Saxion, TPAC and TPRC have started a 2-year research program together with 11 SMEs with the focus on thermoplastic composites.
The chairs Lightweight Structures and Mechatronics, TPAC and TPRC, and 11 regional companies combine their strength and knowhow to further explore the great possibilities thermoplastic composites have to offer.
Project TPC Future
The research project aims at reducing costs and increasing output to enable large series production. Focus is on three main themes:
- Insert moulding, in which a continuous fibre reinforced preform (‘insert’) is incorporated into a consecutive injection moulding step to create a reinforced product in which the fibers are only present in the final product at the places where they are really needed and not anywhere else. Research will include the manufacture of the preform by various 3D printing techniques as well as the inclusion of the preform in the injection moulding step.
- Bonding of composite parts and panels using 3D printing techniques to create joints made from the same materials as the parts. This will further reduce weight compared to existing solutions using metals and results in better designs for recycling.
- Automation focussing on using robots for both 3D printing and handling of parts between process steps (‘pick-and-place’), direct coupling between the product model in CAD and the control software of the production equipment and connecting production equipment by one common control language so they can work together. Flexible moulds will be investigated as well.