Mass customization of high performance composites with low investment costs
One of the most important factors for the industry today is the energy-efficient production of lightweight components. An affordable process that enables the mass customization of high performance composites with low investment costs is the goal. An automated manufacturing approach is developed that allows affordable high performance products made by fiber-reinforced thermoplastic composites. This concept caters to a wide variety of industries with the help of one production technology. On a technological level it is demonstrated that with the new approach (a mutual consideration of tape placement and thermoforming), superior parts can be produced with less effort than today. On economical level it will demonstrated that this can be achieved with equipment that allows a short return on invest and that improves the competiveness on a long term. The technology is an automated manufacturing solution that allows flexible volume production of recyclable high performance composite parts with nearly any shape. This is achieved by exploiting the synergy of efficient primary shaping technologies (laser-assisted tape placement) and reshaping (thermoforming).