Big breakthroughs will be coming in the production of resin transfer molded (RTM) carbon composite parts for cars.
Toray is working with Daimler to improve a new resin curing system coupled with a slit prepreg approach for use in modified RTM machines. The approach was described last week by Felix Nguyen, Toray senior research scientist, at the Society of Plastics Engineers Automotive Composites Conference & Exhibition in Troy, Mich. The goal is to cut cycle times from around 160 minutes to less than 10 minutes.
Plasan Carbon Composites, which has made widely publicized improvements to production of body panels in an out-of-autoclave process, will soon set its sites on the RTM process, which targets smaller, more complex parts that do not require a Class A finish.
During a tour of the Plasan R&D center in Wixom, Mich. following the conclusion of the SPE conference, a huge shroud covered an RTM machine. Company officials wanted to focus attention on its new body panel equipment, and declined comment on its plans for the RTM process.