Lightweight lever

Organic sheet combined with long-fibers

A lever is used as an example to show how the new Fiber Direct Compounding (FDC) process can be combined with the encapsulation of two continuous-Fiber reinforced thermoplastic inserts of different thicknesses (thermoplastic composite sheets). The result is a high-strength composite component which can be used as a substitute for metal.

Using a two-sided heating process, the organic sheets are held in a robotic gripper and gently heated via an infrared radiator. The six-axis robotic system then inserts the sheets into the LIPA (Lightweight Integrated Process Application) mold at a precise forming temperature. A separate heating station is dispensed with. An ALLROUNDER 820 S encapsulates the organic sheets with long-fiber reinforced PP. The end product has a length of 500 mm and weighs only around 200 g – 62 % less than a comparable die-cast part. 

Highlights

  • Lightweight construction: Combination of long fibers and organic sheets produces high-strength, lightweight composite component
  • Fiber Direct Compounding (FDC): individual adjustment of Fiber length, Fiber content and material combinations
  • Servo-hydraulics: ALLROUNDER S with energy-saving system, speed-controlled pump drive
  • Inline quality assurance: temperature monitoring, flexural testing and graphic display of quality parameters

Basic specifications

Lightweight lever
Cavities: 1
Part weight: 202 g
Material: PP + GF
Cycle time: 40 s

Here’s how it works

Overmolding organic sheets
The organic sheets of different thicknesses are formed to a W-shaped profile in the mold, while the edging, end eyes and ribbed structures are simultaneously encapsulated in long-fiber reinforced PP. This prevents open fibers and damage to the fiber structure.

Process

Long-fibre direct injection molding
Fibers with a length of up to 50 mm can be added directly to the liquid melt via a side feeder on the injection unit. This minimizes fiber damage during material preparation. The base materials, plastic and fiberglass rovings, are also significantly less expensive than ready-made long-fiber granulates.
to the process

Technology

Machine
An ALLROUNDER 820 S encapsulates the organic sheets with long-fiber reinforced PP in order to provide the finished component with additional functional and reinforcement elements. The servo-hydraulic drive permits particularly energy-efficient and low-emission operation. The cycle time is approx. 40 s.
to the hydraulic machines

Robotic system
A six-axis robotic system carefully holds the two organic sheets via suction devices, heats them up and inserts them into the mold at a precise forming temperature. It then also removes the finished part and transfers it to a quality inspection station before setting it down on a conveyor belt.
to the six-axis robots

Industry

Automotive
In the case of large unit volumes, the integration of automated upstream and downstream operations pays. The example of the lightweight lever demonstrates how a high-strength composite component capable of substituting metal can be produced by combining organic sheets and long fibers.
to the industry

Partners

MoldGeorg Kaufmann
Automationfpt Robotik
MaterialLanxess