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Improving composite process efficiency on a structural frame for a commercial truck storage door

: Ruby, M.; Reif, M.; Begert, M.; Gerster, M.; Schneider, E.; Joppich, T.; Baumgärtner, S.

Albers, R. ; Society for the Advancement of Material and Process Engineering -SAMPE-:
SAMPE Conference & Exhibition 2014. CD-ROM : June 2 - 5, 2014, Seattle, Washington
Covina/Calif.: SAMPE, 2014
ISBN: 978-1-934551-16-5 (Print)
ISBN: 978-1-68015-435-1 (Online)
16 S.
Society for the Advancement of Material and Process Engineering (SAMPE Conference & Exhibition) <2014, Seattle/Wash.>
Fraunhofer ICT ()

Improved process efficiency with potential for lower costs at higher production volumes has been demonstrated for a structural-composite doorframe support for a storage door on a commercial truck cab. The study compared thermostamped 70-wt% unidirectional (UD) fiberglass-reinforced polypropylene (PP) composite vs. incumbent stamped steel. Structural simulation and performance validation loops were conducted to optimize ply layup and fiber orientations. A semi-automated four-step production process was developed to demonstrate potential of producing structural-composite parts within 60 sec. Process benefits include high levels of design flexibility regarding fiber orientation, allowing engineers to take full advantage of aligned fibers with opportunities to boost performance or reduce mass and thickness. Versus fabric-reinforced sheet composites, it eliminates fiber undulation, assuring fiber-reinforcement properties are fully utilized. Even without optimizing the design for composites, the thermoplastic-composite solution offers lower mass than the baseline design. Study details and results are reported here.