Programme Overview

The aim of the programme is to improve the manufacturing process for continuous aligned fibre thermoplastic matrix composites. This improvement will:

  • Lower costs;
  • Increased manufacturing speed;
  • Create better 3D structures; and
  • Improved process flexibility.

The interdisciplinary consortium of 17 partners bring their skills from seven European countries in the areas of materials, engineering, manufacturing, laser measurement and control technology and simulation in the project.
The overall objectives of the programme include:

  • The use of UD pre-preg material, to avoid the disadvantages of fabrics, notably improved mechanical performance;
  • Flexible and automated production;
  • Net-shape production with minimum waste;
  • Development of laser systems and processes for laser-assisted tape laying, laser cutting and laser welding with a laser source to create advanced out of autoclave production;
  • In-situ integration of inserts during the thermoforming operation with minimal fibre damage;
  • Development of optimized process and quality control of pre-preg material production;
  • Integrate advanced joining techniques into the overall process;
  • Quality assurance through automated measurement systems for the production; and
  • Establishment of a comprehensive material-and process database and a simulation environment along the process chain.

Fibre Chain Concept: Industry Needs

Lightweight components are in great demand everywhere, where high performance and efficiency of the materials are required. A typical example in the carious transport sectors where reduced weight can lead to improved fuel consumption and efficiency.

Highly specialized production systems now supply multi-layered, three-dimensional lightweight components made of fibre reinforced plastics (FRP), but these are only produced only for niche applications. A production system that represents an integrated supply chain and can be used across industries and capable of mass production has so far not become available.

In the project "Integrative process chain for the automated and flexible production of components made of fibre reinforced plastics (Fibre Chain)" it is expected to develop the world's first automated and yet flexible, turnkey production system for mass production of high performance lightweight and recyclable components of continuous fibre reinforced thermoplastics.

Such a system will application across a range of sectors including: automotive, aerospace, shipbuilding, railway engineering and sporting equipment, as well as mechanical and plant engineering, construction, container construction, power engineering