- Manufacturing process needs less manpower
- 50% curing time reduction already achieved
- Application: building and automotive sector
- Research project Coaline
AIMPLAS, the Plastics Technology Centre, has reached the mid-point of an European project to develop a new profile pultrusion manufacturing process that combines different processing steps, such as the application of primer or paint, in one single step. This leads to time cost savings. In addition, less manpower is needed. The project Coaline began in September 2013 and will last 42 months.
Number of processing steps is reduced
The new production method is also more environmentally sustainable as there are no emissions of solid particles from sanding and volatile organic compounds (VOC) for painting are avoided (primer or paint will be applied directly inside the mould).
50% curing time reduction already achieved
At this point, AIMPLAS has ended up the experimental part where microwaves absorbers and gelcoats, previously selected by the partners, are added to resins. Three different susceptors (microwaves absorbers) have been tested in variable proportions (the addition of susceptors to certain types of resins is needed in order to improve the absorption of microwaves). The results have been successful since in all the cases the reduction of the curing time in more than 50 % has been achieved.
Nora Lardiés, main researcher of the project in AIMPLAS explains: “The pultrusion manufacturing process is a continuous system where a glass fibre reinforcement impregnated with resin at one end of a closed and heated mould is introduced. The resin cures inside the mould so by the other end the profile comes off perfectly cured”.
Applications: Profiles for electric cars and the building industry
The industrial application is going hand in hand with two project partners, who will act as final users: the company ACCIONA will use the profiles such as stiffening beams in the building sector, while ALKÈ will apply them in the structure of electric cars. In addition, the German partner Fraunhofer, in collaboration with the company MUEGGE, has already designed and built the microwave antenna that will be put together with the modular mould. The company RESCOLL is working in the formulation of the primer and the adhesive, with the possibility of debonding when being heated.