Braiding technology of Munich Composites brings back production of CFRP components to countries with higher wages.
Munich Composites produces hollow components like field hockey sticks made from composites with its braiding technology in Germany.
Beginning this year, the company Munich Composites manufactures CFRP field hockey sticks in series production at its site in Munich, Germany. Up until now, hockey sticks were mainly made by hand in Pakistan due to low wages in Asia. The advanced technology of Munich Composites now enables the production of these components in Germany.
The improved braiding technology of Munich Composites was the key to this development. The advantage of the process is that the components can be produced almost entirely automated. The braiding in which robots pull a mandrel through the braiding machine and the injection of carbon fibers with epoxy resin work completely without manual interaction. This way, the company can guarantee that each component has the same high quality.
Another cost advantage is the low amount of scrap of braiding compared to prepreg technology. In other technologies up to 40% of the expensive fibers are left as waste whereas Munich Composites has scrap rates of less than 5%. Therefore, this technology can not only be used for small series but also for mass production of high quality hollow components.
So far, the technology of Munich Composites has won several awards like the JEC Innovation Award 2012 and 2015. The technology has already proven to be excellent in practice. Today, Munich Composites produces several components in series for customers in different industries.
Figure: Field hockey stick produced with the braiding technology of Munich Composites
Carbon carrier for buses receives innovation award
The engineers of MAN and Munich Composites have won the JEC Award 2015 for light carbon-fibre spring carriers
The MAN Predevelopment Division joined forces with the carbon fibre specialist Munich Composites to develop an air spring carrier made from carbon fibre-reinforced composite material (CFC) for buses. The project was awarded the JEC Innovation Award Europe in the "Transportation" category.
JEC is the largest industrial association for composite materials. The award is used to distinguish outstanding developments made of fibre-reinforced composite materials and was handed over to the MAN developers Norbert Elbs and Susanne Rübsamen, and to Olaf Rüger and Martin Stoppel of Munich Composites, on 10th March at the largest carbon fibre industrial fair in Paris.
The aim of the joint project was to achieve significant weight savings for the rear axle beam with a length of approximately 1.60 metres. The current vehicle construction standard is to use steel beams. They are joined to the air spring suspension bags, which support the weight of the bus. Each rear axle has two air spring carriers, each with a weight of 83 kg. The carrying structure of the air spring carriers has a weight of approximately 53 kg. The prototype for this support structure with a CFC hollow profile is about 70 percent lighter and would thus increase the payload of a bus by one passenger. Following prototype development, the components now have to prove their road capability in stringent practical trials. In addition, economic efficiency also has to be evaluated.
At the same time the aim of the project was to develop a technology to manufacture such components on an industrial scale. At Munich Composites, the production process is highly automated: The carbon fibres are braided around a core with the aid of a radial braider. Several robots work together to pull the component core through the radial braider at exactly the right angles. The injection process for epoxy resin is also fully automated. It can thus be guaranteed that each component will be of the same high quality.
Fotos: MAN and Munich Composites
The MAN Group is one of Europe’s leading industrial players in transport-related engineering, with revenue of approximately €15.7 billion in 2013. As a supplier of trucks, buses, diesel engines, turbomachinery, and special gear units, MAN employs approximately 53,500 people worldwide. Its business areas hold leading positions in their respective markets.
About Munich Composites
Munich Composites GmbH is a company forbuild-to-order carbon fiber composite components. It offers all steps in the value chain from design to production of large series of braided hollow parts with its patented „BRAIDform“ production process. Parts in largequantities and complex geometries can be produced at a significantly lower cost with this technology. Munich Composites is based close to Munich, Germany.