Production system allows precise metering of 60% long glass fiber reinforced PP

  • Special gravimetric metering modules ensure uniform mass flow of granulate
  • Minimum fiber content fluctuations
  • Demonstration: airbag housing made from 60%  long glass fiber reinforced PP

FiberForm of KraussMaffei combines thermoforming and injection molding in one process. The process is very suitable for the processing of fiber-reinforced plastics with a thermoplastic matrix. Together with Motan-Colortronic, KraussMaffei presented a never-before-seen integrated system for the precise metering of highly concentrated long fibers at Fakuma. The results show that the component weight can be reduced by up to 47 percent compared to reference components made of short-fiber reinforced polyamide.

Minimum fiber content fluctuations

The precise metering of the PP long glass fiber content is possible due to the use of special gravimetric metering modules, which had previously only been used in the field of extrusion. A highly-concentrated PP-long fiber granulate with 60 percent fiber content and equal parts polymer dilution (from PP) are metered and processed into plasticizing screws using two dosing units. The use of the C-Flex M Walkwand feeder from Motan-Colortronic ensures uniform mass flow for this granulate type. Fluctuations when setting the fiber content can be significantly reduced compared to conventional mixing concepts, according to the company.

CX 300 FiberForm system

The automation integrated into the machine protection housing of the CX 300 FiberForm reduces the needed production space by up to 40 percent (source: KraussMaffei)

Fiber-reinforced air bag housing in under 40 seconds

The new system enables to adjust the process with high precision. This is especially relevant when it comes to the manufacturing of safety-related components where reproducible processes are required. At Fakuma, a CX 300 – 1400 injection moulding machine produced an airbag housing for the automotive supplier Takata AG. Cycle times are under 40 seconds.

airbag housing

The airbag housing produced at Fakuma is based on highly concentrated PP-long glass fiber (source: KraussMaffei)

The processing of highly concentrated long-fibers also offers economic benefits. Compared to standard granulate, the material costs can be reduced. In addition, the wall thickness can be reduced due to the high strength of the long fiber granulate.

The FiberForm process

The FiberForm process combines injection molding with the thermoforming of semi-finished fiber components (composite sheets). By material-based and design-based lightweight construction, new fiber-reinforced thermoplastic components can be manufactured with particularly high strength. In this process, endless-fiber fabric or textiles impregnated with a thermoplastic matrix are heated, then shaped in the injection mold and finally overmolded. Like injection molding, the FiberForm process can be used in fully automated production with compact manufacturing cells.

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