Adeka and GH Craft develop fibre-to-composite direct moulding process

Japan's Adeka Corporation, the material manufacturer of chemical and food products, and GH Craft Ltd, Teijin Group's composite structure design, development and evaluation unit, have jointly developed what they say is the world's first fibre-to-composite (FtoC) Moulding Process to laminate fibre-reinforced plastics (FRP) in open moulds.


The FtoC process automates resin impregnating, curing and laminating processes while aligning highly oriented fibres. A special new rapid-curing epoxy resin developed by Adeka enables FRP to be cured in just tens of seconds with GH Craft's new moulding process using infrared radiation. Large-scale equipment such as curing ovens and press moulds are not needed because the FRP can be laminated in an open mould.

Also, compared to conventional composite production, the FtoC process is said to reduce fibre waste by directly moulding fibres to the composite without requiring intermediate steps. Moreover, by extending and highly orienting fibres, the process produces glass fibre-reinforced plastics (GFRP) that offers significantly improved performance, including 100% more bending strength, 40% more tensile strength and 75% more interlayer shear strength compared to conventional GRFP made with conventional resin transfer moulding (RTM).

Going forward, Adeka will develop line-ups of specialised resins for the process and GH Craft will develop practical applications. Adeka and GH Craft will jointly verify the effectiveness of the process through the manufacture of practical products. Furthermore, the companies aim to jointly create a new composite market sector by working to establish the process as a de facto standard for FRP production.

FRP is made of aligned unidirectional fibre that is impregnated with matrix thermoset resin and then moulded by heat. Conventional thermoset moulding processes, such as autoclave and RTM, have drawbacks including long manufacturing cycles, high production costs, including for large equipment such as curing ovens and press moulds needed for large-scale composites, and the need for intermediate trimming steps that produce large amounts of fibre waste. In addition, rather than highly orienting fibres, conventional thermoset moulding processes twist the fibres in matrix resin, making it generally difficult to achieve high-tenacity FRP.


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