AVK presents coveted Innovation Awards 2011 to three winners
Direct process for manufacturing high quality SMC components / Initiation of an European wide take-back- and recycling system for fiber reinforced plastics / The looped composite spring leaf made from CRP
The coveted Innovation Awards presented by the AVK - Industrievereinigung Verstärkte Kunststoffe e.V. (Federation of Reinforced Plastics) have been granted this year in three categories: industrial, environmental and university. Once again, they recognise outstanding developments in the area of reinforced plastics. The winner of the industrial category is the machinery and plant engineering company Eppinger Dieffenbacher GmbH in cooperation with DSM Composite Resins from Bruchsal and the Fraunhofer Institute for Chemical Technology based in Pfinztal. The university category has been won by the Bremer Faserinstiutut e.V. together with its partners, the Bremen University of the Arts and InnoWi GmbH. The delighted winners of the environmental award in 2011 are Zajons Logistik Entsorgungsgesellschaft mbH and its partners Zajons Zerkleinerungs GmbH, both based in Melbeck and Holcim (Deutschland) GmbH from Hamburg.
Dieffenbacher GmbH: New direct process for manufacturing high quality SMC parts
SMC (sheet molding compound) has been used successfully for many years in a wide range of applications, e.g. for automobile body panels . Until now, SMC has been manufactured in a semi-finished process and supplied to processing companies as mats, which can be pressed into components.
Dieffenbacher GmbH has now developed an innovative Direct SMC technology, in which long fibre reinforced plastics can for the first time be manufactured in a continuous process beginning with the raw materials and ending with the pressed parts in a closed process chain. This bypasses the cost-intensive steps of storing, banding and transportation that used to be required for SMC semi-finished parts. Processing the compound directly rather than using the conventional semi-finished process has a number of advantages including greater flexibility when developing recipes optimised for specific components, short optimisation cycles and the option of using new resin systems with better properties. The result is a significant improvement in profitability and productivity.
The entire process from dosing the raw materials to pressing is stable and reproducible. Seamless monitoring ensures consistent class A quality. Dieffenbacher started work on the development of the Direct SMC process together with its partners DSM and Fraunhofer ICT as early as 2003. In 2010, a production scale pilot plant was built and used to optimise the process up to the stage of manufacturing first samples of mass-produced components and demonstrating the viability of this innovative approach. The system has been marketed commercially around the world since the beginning of this year. Dieffenbacher offers this innovative development to customers as a turnkey plant from the material store to the press itself and subsequent processes. Its partners in the project are currently developing special material formulations and testing customer-specific applications. Successful test runs have already been conducted in the areas of trucks and automobiles.
The new process offers many advantages in terms of greater product quality, profitability and flexibility. The results can be seen in the measurable improvements in the quality of the materials and process reliability that benefits both the SMC processor and its customers.
The global market for SMC products is very large and strong demand for the innovative Direct SMC technology will not be restricted to the automobile sector. Experts predict that the new flexibility and freedom it offers for developing new very specific formulations will pave the way for new applications in areas, where SMC is not currently used - including those outside the automobile sector
Zajons Logistik Entsorgungsgesellschaft mbH: CompoCycle - Initiation of an European wide take-back- and recycling system for fiber reinforced plastics
The Environment Award goes to Zajons Logistik - the developer of CompoCycle, an European wide take-back- and recycling system for fiber reinforced plastics. Together with its partner Zajons Zerkleinerungs GmbH, the company has developed a system that permits 100% recycling of GRP and CRP waste products. Thermoset, fibre reinforced plastics have been considered difficult to dispose of until now.
The process takes waste glass fibre reinforced plastics (GRP) and carbon fibre reinforced plastics (CRP), for example from rotor blades that have reached the end of their useful life, and mills them in a new multi-stage, dust-reduced process. Impurities are then removed. This is all performed in an industrial plant that required an investment of approx. € 6 million. The recycling plant has a capacity of 60,000 tonnes per year.
The product of the milling process is simultaneously a high quality secondary raw material for the production of cement, which can replace primary raw materials such as carbon and silicon. The great advantage of the new return and recycling system is that the process leaves no residues. It is sustainable and guarantees that 100 % of the material is recycled.
The new "CompoCycle" label has a similar function to that of the "green dot" (Der Grüne Punkt) - familiar to German consumers from packaging products. It provides an assurance to customers that waste products are handled sustainably and offers similar marketing benefits. CompoCycle will become a brand that stands for innovative environmental technology. For the first time in the fibre reinforced plastics industry, CompoCycle will take responsibility for products beyond their useful working life and offer the industry a guarantee platform. Companies can purchase authorisation to use the CompoCycle guarantee label for a small charge.
Faserinstitut Bremen e. V.: The looped composites spring leaf
Faserinstitut Bremen has developed an innovative open ring-pattern leaf spring made from CRP. The leaf spring is constructed from a laminate, which has a variety of fibre orientations and changes continuously. This makes it possible to vary the resistance of the spring infinitely from very hard to very soft simply by turning the round open ring-pattern leaf spring in its bearing. Analytical methods are used to determine the resistances of the springs before defining the layer structure. The results of the simulation are finally validated by mechanical testing of sample spring parts.
The spring has a lightweight construction due to the use of CRP and also of GRP. Faserinstitut Bremen has already manufactured a small series of the components within the framework of a project with product designers from the Bremen University of the Arts and with the support of INNOWI GmbH, a development company owned by the State of Bremen. Some 100 GRP and CRP looped composites spring leafs have been produced so far. These have been mechanically tested and are being used as samples.
The new springs can be used in almost all spring-mounted systems such as seating and reclining furniture, vehicle seats, vehicle suspension systems, bicycle seat supports, active wheelchairs and many other applications. Experts expect that large numbers of the springs will be in production in the not too distant future due to their versatility, excellent durability and low maintenance. Automated production techniques also ensure that manufacturing costs are low.
Award ceremony at Composites Night during the International AVK Conference
The innovation awards were presented at the International AVK Conference from 26 - 27 September 2011 in the ICS International Congress Center Stuttgart, in conjunction with the COMPOSITES EUROPE trade fair (27 - 29 September 2011). The winners presented their innovations to an international audience during the trade fair.
Ursula Zarbock, Tel. +49 (0)69/27 10 77-13, email@example.com
About the AVK:The AVK - Industrievereinigung Verstärkte Kunststoffe ( Federation of Reinforced Plastics) is the only interest group in the plastics industry and as the professional association for fibre reinforced plastics/composites, it represents the interests of the manufacturers and processors of reinforced plastics/composites at both a national and European level.
The range of services includes seminars and conferences, specialised working parties, the creation of a network platform and the providing of information, among others (www.avk-tv.de).
At a national level, the AVK is one of the four associations within the GKV - Gesamtverband Kunststoffverarbeitende Industrie (National Processing Industry Association ) - and at an international level it is a member of the European Composites Industry Association (EuCIA).
« to news list