IRG CosiMo & ITA-Augsburg open platform for thermoplastic composites research
These new infrastructures were set up less than two months after Faurecia Clean Mobility, Premium AEROTEC, Solvay and ENGEL started IRG CosiMo (Industry Research Group: Composites for Sustainable Mobility), the industry’s first private consortium focusing on the development of thermoplastic materials and process technologies in aerospace and automotive.
The first piece of equipment is a 1000 t press with tool handling system complemented by different equipment for thermoplastic processing. This press will be part of a full production line. This is already complemented by a small scale blank heating and overmolding system which will be substituted by a full scale equipment later on in the project.
Global transportation market trends such as rapidly increasing volumes, high cost pressure in the global competition, a need for lightweight yet competitive designs and digitalization bring the need for new materials and processing technologies. Dr. Thomas Ehm, CEO of Premium Aerotec stated: “This project is key for the next technological step in designing and producing modern fuselages. We will not only research the application of this material but also investigate how a modern digitalized factory will look like.”
“Thermoplastic composites offer distinct advantages around forming, joining, design, functionality and economics. Success factors such as cost reduction, scalability to high volume and production of larger parts still need to reach industrial scale. IRG CosiMo was setup to address these” said Fabrizio Ponte, Vice President of Strategy, Business Development and Communication for Solvay Composite Materials global business unit.
IRG CosiMo is unique as it combines companies along the whole thermoplastic composites process chain, from the materials and semi-finished products (Solvay) followed by specially adapted processing machinery (ENGEL) to applications in automotive (Faurecia) and aerospace (Premium Aerotec). Agile project organization realized by ITA Augsburg will enable a compact project structure leading to timely realization. “We are proud to have helped to organize the project and expect major effects of synergies between automotive and aerospace for new products like drones or air taxis in high volume applications” said Prof. Dr. Stefan Schlichter, Managing Director of ITA Augsburg.
IRG CosiMo is open to integrating new partner companies and to collaborating with institutes of the research campus Augsburg (Augsburg university (MRM, ISSE), DLR-ZLP, Fraunhofer IGCV) to jointly develop critical complementary aspects such as digitalization, material research and parts functional design.
In the technology center Augsburg (TZA) the consortium has found a place where joint research can be conducted and where the machines for the technology platform can be installed. “In order to cover the demand in lightweight technology of both, the automotive industry as well as the aviation industry, we need to consider modular concepts for the processing, where also sophisticated data handling is managed” emphasized Dr. Norbert Müller, head of the ENGEL’s center for lightweight composite technologies.
Premium AEROTEC, Faurecia and ITA Augsburg are also part of a large project consortium which is funded in frame of the Campus Carbon 4.0 program of the Free State of Bavaria. This project called CC4.0 CosiMo aims for developing new materials and processes using in-situ polymerization of Polyamide 6 from Caprolactam for high volume applications in the automotive sector. Hassine Sioud, General Manager Business Unit Ultra lightweight structures and Battery powercase Systems at Faurecia Clean Mobility - Zero Emission Division, said: “IRG CosiMo confirms Faurecia’s determination to shape the future of mobility. We believe thermoplastic composites are key to answering the latest regulations on vehicle weight as the environmental impact of automobiles can be significantly reduced through the use of innovative materials, enhancing function integration while helping to meet customers’ needs with optimized solutions and design freedom.”