BMW Boosts Strength of CFRP Parts With Water-Assist: An Industry First

BMW is using a newly developed water assist system to improve the strength, cut fiber costs and reduce the weight of carbon composite parts at its Landshut, Germany site. BMW is a global leader of parts made from carbon-reinforced plastic (CFRP) in the sixth generation of the 7 Series and other models.

CFRP RTM work cell at BMW's Landshut plant.

CFRP RTM work cell at BMW’s Landshut plant.

The water-assist system was developed by Maximator GmbH of Nordhausen, Germany, a supplier of high-pressure equipment for several markets, including plastics processing.

“The Maximator water assist system is being used in conjunction with the HP-RTM (high-pressure resin transfer molding) procedure for the first time at BMW. We adapted our water assist technology especially for this process,” said René Himmelstein, vice president sales & marketing. “The fluid injection broadens the application range of the HP-RTM technology significantly and opens up new possibilities in terms of lightweight constructions.”

The production system at the BMW Group site in Landshut comprises two central units: the water treatment unit and the pressure unit. The water assist system generates internal pressure that is exerted onto a blow mold. Water is evacuated after the injected resin hardens around the carbon fiber matrix that is woven around the lost mold.

Himmelstein said that the high-pressure supply unit and the valve assembly needed to be fitted as close to each other as possible. This was achieved through use of a complex injector with multiple integrated monolithic valves and process technology for series production.

It’s necessary to use very pure, demineralized water at a very high temperature. All system parts that come into contact with water are made of proven metal alloys to ensure they can withstand this aggressive corrosion. A water heater was also installed to accelerate the resin hardening process

The parts need to be produced in a high cycle rate while ensuring that they have a certain temperature when taken from the mold so that they do not deform.

The primary structure of the sixth generation of the BMW 7 Series is a Carbon Core that also includes aluminum and high-strength steel. Gas-assist creates lighter, stronger CFRP structural parts in series production.

The primary structure of the sixth generation of the BMW 7 Series is a Carbon Core that also includes aluminum and high-strength steel. Gas-assist creates lighter, stronger CFRP structural parts in series production.

 

 

 

 

About Doug Smock

Former Chief Editor at Plastics World and Senior Technical Editor Design News

Automotive, Carbon Fiber, Design, Europe, Green, Molds & Moldmaking, Resin Transfer Molding , ,

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