AUG 2016


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34 CompositesWorld AUGUST 2016 INSIDE MANUFACTURING 3 Prepreg is cut and fed into a mechanized preform assembly station. 2 Carbon fiber/epoxy prepregs for the stabilizer bars are made in-house, designed and manufactured using a specially formulated epoxy matrix system. Pictured is IFA's small-volume prototype prepregging line, from Santex AG (Tobel, Switzerland). 1 IFA Composite uses ANSYS software to exploit the significant design freedom that composites enable during the CAD and FEA processes. no longer be met using standard steel stabilizer bars. "Composite designs allow options which are harder to produce in steel." Process drives design "As a high-volume manufacturer, streamlined production is the key for cost-effective parts," says Schulz. R&D will always seek to make the parts lighter, he notes, "but optimal 'rocket science' designs could easily be too expensive for the added weight benefit." e process IFA developed includes a preforming station, a molding press and a CNC machining center (see Fig. 2, p. 33). Once the production process was set, Schulz says the steps were easily separated and simplified, so that parts could be fabricated in a smaller, limited-volume production environment, and then scaled up as necessary. "Currently, the parts are manufactured with limited machinery," Schulz comments, "but the whole 4 Preforms are placed into a single-cavity tool (shown here), the tool is closed and an inner silicone bladder is inflated. Parts are cured in less than 20 minutes in a 1-MPa press at 130°C, then post-cured for two hours. its tendency to turn more or less than commanded, respectively. A stabilizer bar is situated between the left and right wheels, connecting them through short lever arms linked by a torsion spring. e bar is attached to the car chassis through rubber bushings. Stabilizer bars can be solid or hollow, and designed as monolithic — a single bar — or as a multi-component assembly, with separate lever arms. "e discrete loading of a stabilizer bar — torsional load in the middle section and bending load in the lever arm — is an opportunity for composites' tailorable anisotropy to provide a lightweight, efficient design," explains Christian Schulz, head of composite structural parts at IFA Composite. Achieving not only a significant reduction in weight, but also a wider range of stiff- ness within the same outer shape, composites offered a solution, says Schulz, when requirements in the installation space could Source | IFA Composite GmbH Source | IFA Composite GmbH Source | IFA Composite GmbH Source | IFA Composite GmbH

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