LFT-D - A process technology for large scale production of fiber reinforced thermoplastic components
Long-Fiber reinforced Thermoplastics (LFT) have gained an increasing market share in the automotive industry since the last decade. Already known in some large scale applications, the processing of semi-finished products, as GMT (glass-mat reinforced thermoplastic sheets) and LFT-G (long-fiber reinforced thermoplastic granules), constitutes the state-of-the-art of these materials. The LFT-D process, in which continuous rovings are fed directly into the polymer melt, differs fundamentally from the GMT and LFT-G processes in that it avoids the need of semi-finished products manufactured by the material supplier. It is therefore a cost effective measure. Further advantages of this technology are high output-capacity and flexibility in fiber and polymer-modification in accordance with the customers needs. Advanced LFT's are using engineering plastics i.e., PET and PA as well as local unidirectional reinforcements and tailored fiber placement.