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04-04-2019 | Materials Technology | News | Article

Body Components Made of Steel and Fibre-Reinforced Plastics

Author:
Thomas Siebel

The Fraunhofer Institutes for Production Technology (IPT) and Laser Technology (ILT) are combining laser structuring and tape laying for the production of hybrid components. The process, which is suitable for large series production, can be used in automotive and aerospace applications.

In the EU research project ComMUnion, the IPT and ILT Fraunhofer Institutes, together with 14 other partners, are developing a manufacturing process for hybrid lightweight construction from metal and fibre composite plastics. In this process they are combining laser structuring and laser-assisted tape laying. The metal components are first given a rough surface structure by the laser. This allows reinforcing elements to be mechanically joined directly to the steel component at a later stage without the need for additional means of joining.

Tapes applied automatically

The reinforcements made of thermoplastic fibre composite plastic are applied to the component using the automated tape laying process. For this purpose, the laser heats the fibre-reinforced tapes applied locally directly in front of the joining zone on the metal, so that the matrix material melts and penetrates into the surface structures. With this development, the partners are addressing companies in the automotive and aerospace industries.

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