Out of Autoclave Processing of Composites - challenges and opportunities
Posted on 06/02/2018
Ajay Kapadia, KTN – Knowledge Transfer Manager, Advanced Composites
The global composites end product market is estimated to be $113.2 billion by 2022*.
The prepreg/autoclave processing route remains the processing method of choice for advanced composites. This is despite that fact that it is a bottleneck to production, adds cost, wastes energy, limits the lifetime of materials, etc..
Building on the successful “Joining of Composites” event last year, The Knowledge Transfer Network (KTN) is again working in partnership with the Irish Composites Centre (IComp), CompositesUK and Invest Northern Ireland to bring you this cross-border event in Belfast on 15 March. At the Out of Autoclave Processing of Composites Conference, researchers from academia and industry will present the state of the art on the progress being made to find alternative materials and processing methods.
The Conference has been divided into themes. The flow processing theme will looks at advances made in resin infusion and RTM processes. Eliminating preimpregnated material will remove large freezers, lifetime issues and the cost associated with having someone else impregnate the fibre. The materials theme will look at advances in both thermoset and thermoplastic materials and their routes to processing. The preforming theme will look at trying to automate the lay up of the materials even faster/cheaper than what can be achieved through automated tape lay up and tow placement. The manufacturing theme will look at advanced in both thermoset and thermoplastic manufacturing techniques. And lastly, the novel heating methods theme will look at advances in trying to make processes more energy and time efficient.
The Conference is timely as whilst the traditional prepreg/autoclave route has suited high value sectors such as aerospace, the mass automotive sector, where the largest growth in the composites sector is predicted, does not support such costs or process times. Also, the traditional metallic materials used by the automotive sector have also been developing to provide solutions for the light weighting challenge and have the benefit of existing supply chains. The aerospace sector is watching the developments around composites in the automotive sector with interest for anything that can be adopted by them as they also face their own cost and throughput pressures.
This Conference is aimed at those in the Composites industry and potential customers for who light weighting is of interest. We also warmly invite any delegates from outside of Europe who are on their way back from JEC in Paris taking place the week before.
Attendees to the Conference will have the opportunity to hear about the latest developments in all these area and network with the speakers and fellow delegates. This conference event will give industry and researchers the opportunity to share their experiences and challenges in OOA processes for manufacture of composite parts. The programme is now available and includes themes on flow processes, materials, preforming, manufacturing and novel heating methods.
We invite you to the iconic Titanic Museum in Belfast in the UK for this one day Conference where you will make new contacts and learn something new.
*(Source: Growth Opportunities in the Global Composites Industry. Published: June 2017 by Lucintel).