Speeding up production of automotive composites
While aerospace-derived prepreg materials for autoclave cure were regularly used within the racing and high value sectors of the industry, for composites to be cost-effective for the mass production of parts, both the manufacturing processes and resin systems needed to be adapted.
To meet faster processing and shorter production cycle requirements, Huntsman has developed epoxy liquid resin systems for out-of-autoclave processes, such as high pressure resin transfer moulding (HP-RTM), which enable production cycles as short as 5 minutes.
Other fast curing epoxy systems, such as expandable epoxy systems (EES), are also available for wet compression moulding. Involving moderate costs, EES allows the easy and exact moulding of complicated shapes and extremely short cycle times of 45-60 seconds at 145-160°C.
Fast infusion of wind turbine blades
The increasing length of wind turbine blades has prompted the more widespread use of advanced composites, which has in turn led to demands for new materials and manufacturing methods.
Huntsman’s Germanischer Lloyd (GL) approved epoxy resin systems offer enhanced mechanical and processing properties that improve product quality, lower blade weight, deliver high strength and fatigue properties and enhance impact resistance. The low viscosities of these systems facilitate fast infusion processing and reduced production cycle times.
Araldite® LY 1568 / Aradur 3489 is an example of an epoxy resin infusion system which provides more control in the manufacturing process. It has a low mix viscosity of 200-300mPas at 25°C, low exothermic reaction, and long pot life of 850-950 minutes.
Huntsman offers tooling materials for the construction of high quality, lightweight, heatable composite moulds, which can be used for wet lay-up, resin infusion and high temperature prepreg applications.
- styling and modelling boards;
- seamless modelling pastes;
- gel-coat systems;
- coupling layers;
- laminating systems; and
- infusion systems.
Huntsman also also launched a new hot curing epoxy system (RenLam® LY 120 / Ren HY 99) for the large-scale tooling and composite production of wind turbine blades and large marine components. Combining a low viscosity with a long pot life and high temperature resistance (150°C), this system is suitable for various production processes.
Huntsman’s expertise spans the three main structural adhesive categories – epoxy, polyurethane and methylmethacrylate. Recent developments have concentrated on the market for high-end applications and new solutions for composite to composite bonding and for bonding composites to other substrates.
Araldite AW 4858 / Hardener HW 4858 and Araldite AW 4859 / Hardener HW 4859 are the latest high-strength composite bonders to be added to the Huntsman range. These offer similar properties, but Araldite AW 4859 / Hardener HW 4859 has the added benefit of being suited to high temperature environments.
COMPOSITES EUROPE 2012 takes place on 9-11 October in Düsseldorf, Germany. The show is organised by Reed Exhibitions with the support of the European Composites Industry Association (EuCIA), the American Composites Manufacturers Association (ACMA), Reinforced Plastics magazine, the German engineering association VDMA (Verband Deutscher Maschinen- und Anlagenbau) and German association for reinforced plastics AVK.