When it comes to lightweight design with carbon fiber-reinforced plastics (CFRP), efficient series production is key to further establish this material class in more and more applications and industries. The production method of fiber placement – and automated, load-path optimized, material efficient laying and cutting of fibers – plays an important role, as this type of method is ideal for industrial production. To incorporate the technology into more high-volume applications across industries and further improve efficiency and resource utilization, SGL Carbon and Fraunhofer IGCV founded the joint Fiber Placement Center at the beginning of this year. The center is headquartered at the SGL site in Meitingen, near Augsburg. System manufacturers Compositence GmbH and BA Composites GmbH as well as the Chair for Carbon Composites at the Technical University of Munich have also joined the cooperation. In addition, also the system experts Coriolis Group SAS and Cevotec GmbH are planning to come on board as partners.
Following the premiere of the FPC at the JEC World industry fair in Paris this March, the FPC today celebrated its opening on site with around 150 guests from the fields of politics, science and industry. Attendees included Franz Josef Pschierer (Bavarian State Minister of Economic Affairs, Energy and Technology), Eva Weber (Deputy Mayor of Augsburg), Dr. Michael Higl (Mayor of Meitingen) and Johann Häusler (Member of the Bavarian Parliament). Martin Sailer (District Administrator of Augsburg) made an appearance via a video message.
With different high-tech systems and a space of over 500 m², the FPC offers customers the option to develop new production concepts and demonstrate them in prototype production. In addition, SGL Carbon can begin with high-volume production of fiber-reinforced components. Both dry and pre-impregnated fibers with or different plastic resins, also referred to as thermoplastic matrix systems, are processed. Both dry and pre-impregnated fibers with or without thermoplastic matrix systems will be processed.
Already today, preparations of projects for for secondary and primary structural parts with aerospace companies and various automotive parts manufacturers worldwide are under way.The center’s work is closely linked with that of SGL Carbon’s Lightweight and Application Center (LAC), a facility measuring again around 1,500 square meters also located at the Meitingen site, where the company works with its customers to continually develop innovative lightweight structures, processes and prototypes.
The FPC team consists of several engineers, PhD students and technicians, so that all relevant core disciplines can be covered along the composite manufacturing process chain. Thanks to the cooperation with the Technical University of Munich and the Fraunhofer IGCV, this team will also be accompanied by students working in the course of final thesis so that also the best possible conditions for the promotion of young talents are created.
Quotes on the opening:
Guests at the FPC inaugural celebration were greeted by Dr. Jürgen Köhler (CEO of SGL Carbon), Andreas Wüllner (Head of the Composites – Fibers & Materials business unit at SGL Carbon) and Dr. Klaus Drechsler (Director of Fraunhofer IGCV and Head of the Carbon Composites chair at the TU Munich). In their keynotes, the three hosts emphasized the importance of the new technology.
“For us as SGL Carbon, series production of composite-based lightweight components is a crucial element of our company and growth strategy. We want components made of fiber-reinforced plastics to become a standard in every major industry. One key is the right production methods – with fiber placement being one of several trendsetting approaches. With the new center, we can now offer this technology, originally coming from the aerospace industry, also to other sectors at an industrial level,” states Dr. Jürgen Köhler.
“Thanks to the FPC, we have bundled profound expertise in the area of fiber placement, along with a truly impressive set-up of equipment. For many of our customers, this is a promising opportunity to exceed existing process capabilities for serial production of components made from fiber-reinforced plastic,” explains Andreas Wüllner.
“The Fiber Placement Center clearly reflects the mission of the Fraunhofer Society, to provide substantial support in knowledge transfer to the industry by means of applied research and to advance the industrialization of fiber-reinforced plastics. Besides our daily cooperation at the center, we also try to reinforce the knowledge transfer, for example with dissertations at the FPC and by combining research with different MAI Carbon projects sponsored by the German federal government as part of the Spitzencluster competition or with Campus Carbon 4.0 projects,” adds Dr. Klaus Drechsler.