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Materials & Assembly

Composites Process Combines Injection Molding & Thermoforming

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Ann R. Thryft
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Re: Composites plus injection molding
Ann R. Thryft   2/2/2012 12:35:31 PM
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William, I think you're totally right about divulging, and not divulging, information. And 20/20 hindsight sure makes this combination look like a no-brainer. 


William K.
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Composites plus injection molding
William K.   2/1/2012 4:09:14 PM
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The greater the trade advantage the less process information will be divulged. That is typical for breakthroughs of value. Why let the competition know how you are beating them in some area. 

Of course the concept of overmolding a composite strength element is interesting, and I wonder why it has not been done long ago, because of the benefits that I can imagine it might deliver. We already have plastic overmolded electrical connectors, so the basic concept is not new, but doing it with a thermoformed composite material is a first. Some information comparing these parts to steel equivalents would be interesting.

Ann R. Thryft
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Re: Neat process
Ann R. Thryft   2/1/2012 12:17:17 PM
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Dave, you're right about the very scarce details available regarding that deal. DN has covered both that partnership and Teijin's process:

http://www.designnews.com/author.asp?section_id=1386&doc_id=236756

http://www.designnews.com/document.asp?doc_id=230298


Ann R. Thryft
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Re: Neat process
Ann R. Thryft   2/1/2012 12:10:33 PM
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Chuck, I didn't see anything about orientation of fibers in the English language information. Dave's feedback below sounds like one might be stuck with the orientation the process provides. 


Dave Hauber
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Re: Neat process
Dave Hauber   2/1/2012 11:52:20 AM
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Teijin just announced a partnership with GM for high speed production of thermoplastic composite automotive parts but the details are scarce.  It is reportedly not injcetion molding but rather some high speed press operation.  Do you know how this process works? 

Tim
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Possibilities
Tim   1/31/2012 8:35:24 PM
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The combination of the injection molding and thermoforming has great possibilities.  With the addition of the PA elements, you can make large flat strong panels, an the injection molding component would allow for strengthening ribs and possibly mounting lugs on the back side of the component.

Charles Murray
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Re: Neat process
Charles Murray   1/31/2012 6:59:17 PM
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 I'm curious, Ann, could they orient the fibers in such a way as to customize the strength (tensile or compressive) in certain areas? 

Ann R. Thryft
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Re: Neat process
Ann R. Thryft   1/31/2012 12:47:46 PM
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Hmmm, that's a really good question. That's certainly a possibility, but one would need to do a survey of some kind to learn the answer. One reason why it might not be true is the volumes involved. The US still produces a huge amount of cars, as do the Japanese, I believe. BMW and Mercedes produce cars in much smaller volumes. OTOH, composite manufacturing is highly specialized, and neither BMW nor Mercedes are experts, but their subcontractors are. I'd also wonder what companies in what countries Ford buys from.


Alexander Wolfe
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Re: Neat process
Alexander Wolfe   1/31/2012 12:32:10 PM
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This is interesting. Does it mean that the Germans have taken the lead in automotive composites? I ask because there's this, BMW is building a big composites plant in the U.S. (Puget Sound area), and Mercedes is also studying composites.

Ann R. Thryft
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Re: Neat process
Ann R. Thryft   1/31/2012 12:12:40 PM
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Beth, the main benefit seems to be speed of assembly, which in automotive manufacturing means less money.

Dave, thanks for the feedback. I don't read German, so could not get a lot of details on this. I thought it was a cool process, too, and one that seemed terribly obvious--with 20/20 hindsight. And I, too, noticed the funding from the German government in relation to that other thread I think you're referring to. My understanding of the way things work from people I know there is that this sort of effort is part of a much larger level of cooperation than a few government dollars here or there. 


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