Engel Holding GmbH, the Austria-based manufacturer of injection molding machines, is building one of its largest machines for a research center looking into integrating composites into high volume auto production.
Open Hybrid LabFactory in Wolfsburg, Germany, was co-founded by automaker Volkswagen AG, Engel and Germany's Federal Ministry of Education and Research along with the Braunschweig University of Technology.
The Engel v-duo 3600 press has a clamping force of 36,000 kiloNewtons and is the largest in the series of the machine. A press of the same size is in place at BMW AG's factory in Landshut, Germany, making structural components for BMW using the high pressure-resin transfer molding process.
Engel is currently building the press at its large-scale machine plant in St. Valentin, Austria.
The research at Open Hybrid LabFactory covers the entire value chain for lightweight hybrid components.
"One important precondition for successful [fiber-reinforced plastics] projects is that the materials, design and production process mesh in the best possible way. This can only work if enterprises bundle their expertise along the value chain,” said Peter Egger, director of the Engel Center for Lightweight Composite Technologies. “Composite engineering needs 'composite' development.”
The press in Wolfsburg will be fitted with two injection units to provide maximum flexibility for various research projects.