Cygnet Texkimp has created a lab-scale version of its thermoplastic processing equipment for customer trials. 

The direct melt impregnation thermoplastic composite line can be used to help develop new materials and material combinations for thermoplastic prepregs and tapes. 

The machine is 5m long and 1m wide, half the size of the full-scale line, and can process polymers inclyding polypropylene and polyether ether ketone (PEEK) as well as carbon fiber, glass fiber and hybrid fibers. The technology is scalable to 600 mm wide and can manufacture prepregs measuring down to 0.1 mm in thickness. 

The lab-line can also be customized to produce material with a specific weight per meter, heat resistance, strength, rigidity and impact resistance, and users can gather data on their material before taking it into production, the company said.

“The fast-moving composites sector needs this kind of dedicated environment to speed up adoption of new technology and support innovation,’ said Ben Lloyd, R&D specialist at Cygnet Texkimp. 

Cygnet Texkimp’s direct melt impregnation thermoplastic composite line uses standard polymer pellets with a polymer and fiber matrix extrusion methodology and can simplify and shorten the process of manufacturing thermoplastic prepreg materials, according to the company.