The FPC@Western is a collaboration between the Fraunhofer Institute for Chemical Technology (Fraunhofer ICT) of Germany and Canada's University of Western Ontario, located in London, Ontario.
When the centre is fully operational in July 2012, the Dieffenbacher equipment will be used to mould long-fibre and direct-long-fibre thermoplastics (LFT, D-LFT) as well as for standard and direct-sheet moulding compound (SMC and D-SMC).
The centre will also house equipment for high-pressure resin transfer moulding (HP-RTM).
The main focus of the FPC@Western centre will be to help accelerate adoption of high-volume, rapid-processing, fibre-reinforced composites (both thermoplastic and thermoset matrices) for lightweight components in numerous market segments, especially automotive and building materials. London, Ontario, FPC@Western’s home, is located in the heart of the Canadian automotive corridor, and is close to Detroit.
The facility will be available to public and private clients globally, but the primary goal of the FPC@Western is to offer an independent research centre for customers throughout North America.
“Western’s decision to equip the new FPC@Western centre with industrial-rather than research-scale equipment was done quite deliberately,” notes Christian Fais, manager-General Sales & Projects, Dieffenbacher North America.
“OEMs can schedule time on the centre’s 2500 tonne hydraulic compression press and any of the compounding lines and be sure that if their part or tool works at the centre, then it should process equally well in their plants. This way we take the guesswork out of programme scale-up and help speed prove-out of new part designs, processes, and technologies.”