Combined expertise How to mould a complex automotive structural part from a single preform

Source: Cannon Tipos

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Cannon Tipos, a Cannon Group company, specialised in tooling processes for a wide range of technologies for polymer and composite materials collaborated with Coriolis Composites for the fast and precise high-pressure resin transfer molding (HPRTM) of a near to net-shape dry preform manufactured with Coriolis’ patented automated fiber placement (AFP) technology.

Cannon Tipos and Coriolis Composites merge technological expertise to mold a complex automotive structural part from a single preform.
Cannon Tipos and Coriolis Composites merge technological expertise to mold a complex automotive structural part from a single preform.
(Source: Cannon Group)

The innovative near to net-shape dry preform developed through Coriolis’ AFP process and Cannon Tipos’ steel mould, polished to a mirror finish, and high-pressure dosing machines and injection equipment helped realise a complex body-in-white structural part for local reinforcement using a single preform in a fast and easy process with high productivity and sustainable costs.

Coriolis Composites’ moulded part
Coriolis Composites’ moulded part
(Source: Cannon Group)

The AFP 2D dry preform is composed of an optimised fiber orientation of unidirectional (UD) non-woven carbon fiber layers (280 g/m2) with a 55 percent fiber volume fraction (FVF) — for superior mechanical properties in the final part — and proprietary binding technology compatible with a fast cure epoxy resin system ready to be injected. The functionalisation improves formability, permeability, and trimming (3D waterjet) to obtain a net-shape contour and can achieve an overall reduction of up to 50 percent in scrap.

Cannon Tipos engineered the steel mould to withstand up to 120 bar thereby avoiding microporosity; to maintain constant temperature to within two degrees to ensure optimal resin reaction with the hardener; to minimise counterpressure during the infusion phase and maximise vacuum time to avoid washout and air bubbles; and due to the highly polished cavities fully exploit the surface aesthetics of the final molded part obtainable with Coriolis’ superior preform technology.

The resulting BIW local structural part for series production is undergoing qualification trails. It has a 20 second takt time and displays equivalent mechanical performance when compared to incumbent application while offering up to 80 percent weight reduction.

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