CFRP roof modules made in South Korea


Automotive supplier LG Hausys, with its headquarters in Seoul in South Korea, has invested in an HP-RTM (high-pressure resin transfer moulding) system from German machinery maker KraussMaffei.

Since the middle of 2015 the HP-RTM metering machine has been operating at LG Hausys on a press from partner Dieffenbacher to produce advanced structural components for the visible part of automobiles, including a CFRP roof panel.

At the heart of the HP-RTM system is the RimStar Compact 8/4/8 metering system from KraussMaffei. Its main features are its accurate temperature control concept and its precise metering of release agent, says the machine maker. It is suitable for processing both polyurethane and epoxy as a matrix material. Two mixing heads of the type MK 10-2K-RTM are used.

Furthermore, the HP-RTM system delivered to LG Hausys is suitable not only for classic HP-RTM processes, but also for the C-RTM process developed by KraussMaffei. (Compression Resin Transfer Moulding) This process is essentially different by having the matrix material fed into the mould when it is slightly open instead of closed. Thus the mould is not completely closed during the feeding. Consequently, the preform is already partially saturated by resin. The feeding is followed by a compression stroke, which presses the resin through the preform, causing it to become completely saturated. As a result, the cavity pressure and the required clamping force drop by about 30%. In addition, it is possible to produce with a higher discharge capacity, which in turn reduces the cycle time.

"The HP-RTM process is extremely complex. Choosing the right matrix materials, moulds and technologies is not easy, and requires time and expertise," says Erich Fries, Manager of the Composites and Surfaces Business Unit at KraussMaffei.

Thus, KraussMaffei has been working on this project with LG Hausys since the beginning of 2014. Trials at the technical centre for lightweight construction in Munich provided support for designing the right components, as did collaboration with development partners Fraunhofer ICT, Alpex (designing the right mould), Dow Chemicals (preparing the epoxy material for the trials), Roding (manufacturing of the preforms) and Dieffenbacher (designing and delivering the presses).

The result is a system solution tailored to the customer's requirements. "The HP-RTM system was ready for production right after being commissioned, and since then it has been producing components that are free of defects and meet the required quality requirements. Thus, the investment and the development time have paid off for us over the long term," states LG Hausys Vice President Minhee Lee.

"Interest in solutions for processing fibre-reinforced plastics that are ready for series production is rapidly increasing also in Southeastern Asia. Particularly in Korea we are seeing great interest in HP-RTM systems," says Fries.

He also added that KraussMaffei has more than 70 HP-RTM systems on the market worldwide.


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