Verfahrenstechnik Hübers Meter-Mix Technology key to debottlenecking the RTM process for aerostructure parts
The cooperation between Hübers (Bocholt, Germany), Composyst (Hurlach, Germany), which has an exclusive license for the Airbus-patented Vacuum Assisted Process (VAP) for infusion, and Hexion (Columbus, Ohio, U.S.), a leader in developing fast-cure epoxies for HP-RTM in automotive composites resulted in a process that meets the most stringent Airbus requirements regarding the monitoring of the quality and certification of the mixed material used in the composite structure.
All the current RTM processes for aircraft structures use one-component (1-K materials) systems, that are formulated and pre-mixed by the system provider, which required cold transportation and cold storage during its life-cycle. Because of shelf-life constraints, the reactivity of these 1-K material is limited, thus resulting in longer processing/curing times and lower productivity. This development will reduce the supply chain restrictions and costs driven by the usage of 1-K materials, while allowing the usage of faster systems, more tailored towards the end-user requirements.
Additional advantages of our technology vs. the current RTM 1-K set-up and other infusion techniques:
- Vacuum preparation of Resin and Hardener (vacuum level can be adjusted individually) to eliminate any volatile content that may affect the impregnation process in the mold adversely
- Precise temperature control of Resin, Hardener and Reactive Mixture throughout the preparation and infusion process
- Increased pot life by using a static mixer instead of batch processes
- Constant viscosity of the Reactive Mixture because of the material being mixed using a static mixer in the required volume
- Flexible filling speeds as we are using piston pumps in this case to dispense the material into the mold and do not just rely on pressure differences (usually we can achieve shortened mold filling times)
- Almost no waste as the equipment will stop mixing/dispensing material once the mold cavity is full
- Shrinkage compensation during the gelling process
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