Friedrichshafen, Germany — Austrian machinery maker Engel Holding GmbH is furthering the development of fiber-reinforced plastics processes with the installation of a 1,700-metric-ton injection molding machine at the Aachen Center for Integrative Lightweight Production (AZL) in Aachen, Germany.
The Engel injection molding machine, which will be installed at the technical center in 2019, will allow combinations of traditional fiber-reinforced plastics processes and the development of more innovative processes, with a special focus on increasing resource efficiency in lightweight production, the company said.
In addition, research will explore the more efficient use of materials, especially composites, in the mass production of lightweight components.
AZL, part of Germany's RWTH Aachen University, was established in 2012 with the goal of enabling the mass production of lightweight components, including multimaterial or composite systems. In addition to the Engel press, the center houses other large-scale equipment for the development of lightweight production processes such as an 1,800-metric-ton press from Schuler AG, compression mold equipment from Lotte, Germany-based Frimo GmbH and a 200-metric-ton CXW SpinForm rotating table injection molding machine from Munich's KraussMaffei Group GmbH. The KraussMaffei press was delivered in 2017 and has been used in laser-assisted hybrid thermoset/thermoplastic molding in the OptoLight project.
"The AZL provides great conditions for industry-related research activities in the field of lightweight composites, as it is characterized by a strong interdisciplinary approach," Engel CEO Stefan Engleder said in a statement.
Engel has been working closely with AZL as a partner company for many years. Together, the two organizations are working toward the development of efficient mass production processes for lightweight composites.
"This new injection molding system offers us as specialists for lightweight production technology in cooperation with the injection molding experts of the IKV plastic processing institute, the opportunity to establish hybrid processes for industrial lightweight applications," Michael Emonts, AZL's managing director, said in a statement. "The system will expand our existing machinery in the AZL technical center and will be available as an important platform for lightweight production research at RWTH Aachen University."