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New platform for thermoplastic composites research officially launched

Join Date: 2018-10-26

Photo by ITA Augsburg The ribbon cutting ceremony, with from left to right:Helge von Selasinky (ITA) - General ManagerDr. Norbert Müller (Engel) - head of center for lightweight composite technologiesDr. Thomas Ehm (Premium Aerotec) - CEOFranz Josef Pschierer (Bavarian ministry of economics, energy and technology) - State MinisterProf. Dr.-Ing. Stefan Schlichter (ITA) – Managing DirectorFabrizio Ponte (Solvay) - Vice President of Strategy, Business Development and CommunicationHassine Sioud (Faurecia) - General Manager Business Unit Ultra lightweight structures and Battery powercase SystemsWolfgang Hehl (TZA) – CEO Augsburg Innovationspark

Following the kick-off less than two months ago of the IRG CosiMo (Industry Research Group: Composites for Sustainable Mobility), the industry’s first private consortium focusing on the development of thermoplastic materials and process technologies in aerospace and automotive established by Faurecia Clean Mobility, Premium Aerotec, Solvay and Engel, the consortium’s new facilities were officially opened on Friday 28 September 2018.

The Opening Ceremony was presided over by State Minister Franz Josef Pschierer from the Bavarian ministry of economics, energy and technology, who also unveiled the IRG CosiMo’s first installed piece of equipment: a 1000 t press with tool handling system, which will be part of a full production line. The line already includes a small scale blank heating and overmoulding system, which will be replaced with full-scale equipment later on in the project.

The IRG CosiMo initiative is a direct response to current global market trends in transportation - rapidly increasing volumes, cost pressure due to global competition, lighter weight, digitalization - all of which have made it imperative to develop new materials and processing technologies.

In that context “we will not only research the application of this material but also investigate how a modern digitalized factory should look,” said Dr Thomas Ehm, CEO of Premium Aerotec. To which Fabrizio Ponte, Vice President of Strategy, Business Development and Communication for Solvay Composite Materials global business unit added: “Success factors such as cost reduction, scalability to high volume and production of larger parts still need to reach industrial scale. IRG CosiMo was set up to address these.”

The consortium is seeking to develop new materials and processes using in-situ polymerization of Polyamide 6 from caprolactam for high volume applications in the automotive sector. said: “IRG CosiMo confirms Faurecia’s determination to shape the future of mobility. We believe thermoplastic composites are key to answering the latest regulations on vehicle weight," said Hassine Sioud, general manager business unit ultra-lightweight structures and battery powercase systems at Faurecia Clean Mobility - Zero Emission Division.

Moreover, as Dr. Norbert Müller, head of the Engel’s center for lightweight composite technologies pointed out: “In order to cover the demand in lightweight technology of both the automotive industry as well as the aviation industry, we need to consider modular concepts for the processing, where also sophisticated data handling is managed.”

IRG CosiMo is unique as it combines companies along the whole thermoplastic composites process chain, from the materials and semi-finished products (Solvay) followed by specially adapted processing machinery (Engel) to applications in automotive (Faurecia) and aerospace (Premium Aerotec). Agile project organization realized by ITA Augsburg will enable a compact project structure leading to timely realization. New partner companies are welcome, and the consortium is also open to collaboration with the institutes on the Augsburg research campus (Augsburg University (MRM, ISSE), DLR-ZLP, Fraunhofer IGCV) to jointly develop critical complementary aspects such as digitalization, material research and parts functional design.

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