Friedrichshafen, Germany — Just two weeks prior to Fakuma, thermoplastics compounder and distributor Albis Plastics GmbH announced a deal to buy Wipag Deutschland GmbH, a specialist in making carbon-fiber-reinforced plastic compounds for injection molding.
Both companies exhibited at Fakuma. The deal is scheduled to close in January.
Hamburg, Germany-based Albis highlighted environmental benefits for the acquisition: Wipag offers automakers recycled-content materials, they can work with Wipag to recycle scrap carbon fiber from their own manufacturing processes, and the CFRP compounds are lighter and stronger than conventional glass-fiber-reinforced thermoplastics.
Wipag, with sites in Neuburg (Donau) and Gardelegen, Germany, has developed innovative, eco-friendly technologies that allow waste carbon fiber, mainly from the automotive industry, to be reprocessed into CFRP compounds. Wipag also uses post-industrial and post-consumer polypropylene.
Wipag first introduced 40 percent CFRP thermoplastic compounds in 2014. In 2015, it displayed an engine compartment housing molded by Mann+Hummel in a polypropylene compound containing 15 percent recycled carbon fiber.
More recently, Wipag worked with Audi to develop a highly ribbed 30 percent recycled CFRP fuel filler flap hinge arm. Markus Thurmeier, Audi fiber reinforced plastics development engineer, gave details on the development in a 2017 VDI Association of German Engineers' Plastics in Automotive Engineering Congress.
Thurmeier revealed that the carbon fiber comes from dry fabric off-cuts from CFRP parts for Audi group vehicles: various Lamborghini Huracan parts and Audi R8 B-pillars. Wipag then processed and compounded the carbon fiber with polypropylene from Borealis.