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Hexcel to show composite innovations in automotive at JEC

Mar '19
Pic: Hexcel Composite
Pic: Hexcel Composite
Hexcel Composite will promote a wide range of composite innovations for customer applications in aerospace, automotive, etc markets at this year’s JEC World taking place in Paris from March 12-14. With its carbon prepreg patch technology, Hexcel has made it to the final list of the JEC Innovation Awards 2019’s automotive applications category.

“Hexcel’s carbon prepreg patch technology provides an innovative way of locally stiffening and reinforcing metal parts, providing noise and vibration management functionality. Hexply prepreg patches consist of unidirectional carbon fibre impregnated with a fast curing epoxy matrix that has self-adhesive properties, enabling it to bond to metal in a highly efficient one-step process,” said the company in a press release. “These key technology properties are demonstrated in an 18.5 kilogram aluminum subframe, which was reinforced with 500 grams of Hexply prepreg and tested by Saint Jean Industries. The part demonstrates a significant reduction in noise, vibration and harshness (NVH). Other benefits include lower production costs, energy savings, increased driver comfort, production flexibility and part count reduction.”

Hexply prepreg patch technology was also applied to a hybrid side sill demonstrator developed with Volkswagen and Dresden University to address future crash test requirements, specifically for electric cars. Combining fibre-reinforced plastic (FRP) with metal, the hybrid construction allows for optimum performance including weight savings, enhanced safety, increased energy absorption, battery protection in a crash situation and production flexibility.

Hexcel will also display a lightweight CFRP transmission cross-member produced from Hexcel’s high performance HexMC-i 2000 moulding compound. The transmission cross-member was developed in partnership with the Institute of Polymer Product Engineering (at Linz University), Engel and Alpex. As the part connects the chassis together and supports transmission, it has to be stiff and strong, resisting fatigue and corrosion. Hexcel’s HexMC-i 2000 was selected as the best-performing moulding compound on the market, curing in as little as two minutes to produce lightweight, strong and stiff parts.

To produce the transmission cross-member, HexMC-i 2000 preforms are laid up in Alpex moulds and compression-molded in a v-duo press that was tailored for the application by Engel. Ribs, aluminum inserts and other functions can be molded into the part using the single-stage process, reducing component-count. Any offcuts from the preforms can be interleaved between the plies of material to provide additional reinforcement in key areas - meaning that the process generates no waste.

Other automotive promotions on Hexcel’s stand at JEC World include a composite leaf spring manufactured by ZF using Hexply M901 prepreg. In contrast to steel leaf springs, composite versions offer many advantages including weight savings of up to 70 per cent, high corrosion resistance, optimised system integration and superior performance. Hexply M901 prepreg reduces the cure cycle to below 15 minutes and provides 15 per cent higher mechanical performance, with enhanced fatigue properties. It also operates at high temperatures, providing a Tg of up to 200°C following a post cure. (PC)

Fibre2Fashion News Desk – India

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Pic: Hexcel Composites
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