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Hexcel to showcase high-volume carbon fibre structure at GALM Europe 2016

The company will display a composite structure manufactured for a British automotive OEM using Hexcel's HiMax carbon fibre multiaxial fabrics.

20th April 2016

Innovation in Textiles
 |  Leicester

Transport/​Aerospace, Construction, Civil Engineering

The demonstrator part was developed using Hexcel's HiMax carbon fibre multiaxial fabrics specifically optimized for high-volume composites manufacturing processes.

High drape HiMax reinforcement

For mid- to high-volume series automotive production (10,000-100,000 units) composite parts require low cycle times. To help ensure the OEM's quality and cost targets for this project were met, Hexcel Reinforcements UK created a non-crimp fabric with the optimum balance between drape, stability and permeability.

Using an automotive-grade standard modulus, high tow count carbon fibre the company engineered a biaxial fabric with tailored stitch patterns. The high drape HiMax reinforcement conforms to the complex mould geometry of the part, minimizing the defects typically seen with standard materials, whilst its permeability is optimized to enable the fast injection and cure times required for high volume manufacturing.

Carbon fibre composites

Carbon fibre composites are playing an increasingly important role in the manufacture of automotive components. Hexcel is working with a number of major automotive customers to engineer fabrics that are able to be processed with the ease, speed and cost that the automotive market demands.

Hexcel's HiMax multiaxials are said to combine excellent structural properties with good drape and handling characteristics and are used extensively in automotive components. The reinforcements are available in a wide range of fabric styles with weights per ply of 50-1200 gsm, fibre orientations from 22.5° through to 90° in up to four layers, and a wide range of fibre types from high performance fibres through to heavy tow materials The highly drapeable fabrics are suitable for parts with complex curvatures and the ultra-lightweight stitching is ideal for applications that require a Class A surface finish.

HiMax fabrics can be supplied with and without powder binder making them ideal for resin transfer moulding (RTM) and infusion processes, the company reports. They are available in widths of 1270 mm as standard and up to 1650 mm wide on application.

Hexcel Reinforcements UK

Hexcel Reinforcements UK, formerly Formax, is a leading manufacturer of composite reinforcements, specializing in lightweight carbon fibre multiaxials and highly engineered glass fibre and aramid fibres. -Hexcel acquired full ownership of Formax on 5 January 2016, following the acquisition of a 50% interest in the privately-owned company in December 2014.

Hexcel Corporation is a leading advanced composites company. It develops, manufactures and markets lightweight, high-performance structural materials, including carbon fibres, reinforcements, prepregs, honeycomb, matrix systems, adhesives and composite structures, used in commercial aerospace, space and defence and industrial applications such as wind turbine blades.

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