KraussMaffei wins renowned AVK Innovation Award
- First place in the Processes & Methods category
- New CFP technology for chopped fiber processing in the injection molding machine distinguished with award
- Material savings of up to 46 percent possible
- Partner project with Wirthwein SE
(Parsdorf, Germany, November 10, 2023). Together with Wirthwein SE, KraussMaffei has won first place in this year's AVK (German Federation of Reinforced Plastics) Innovation Award for fiber-reinforced composites in the Processes & Methods category. The award was given to the newly developed CFP (Chopped Fiber Processing) technology. The new technology for direct compounding of chopped fiber in the injection molding machine yields significant material and energy savings.
With this new CFP technology, KraussMaffei is simplifying the production of chopped fiber-reinforced plastic components substantially. Compared to conventional continuous-fiber-reinforced technologies, CFP provides significant savings in terms of material and energy costs. Depending on the component, up to 46 percent of material costs and approximately 0.8 kWh per kilogram of processed material can be saved. Transport and storage costs are also reduced. The investment costs for precompounding are unnecessary. In particular, the reduction in energy consumption during processing and the reduced transport routes lead to a significant reduction in the CO2 footprint.
For the greatest possible cost-saving effect, particularly large shot weights are preferred, i.e. large-volume PP-GF components. Conceivable applications are for example in the automotive industry in the interior and in the engine compartment, for example for door modules, front ends, dashboard panels, fan frames or engine covers, as well as in other industries such as technical parts as well as packaging and logistics. Another advantage of the new CFP technology: Recycled materials can also be processed safely.
1st place in the Processes & Methods category:
At the JEC DACH Forum in Salzburg, AVK jury heads Gerhard Lettl, C.F. Maier GmbH (left) and Prof. Jens Ridzewski, IMA Materialforschung und Anwendungstechnik GmbH (right), presented the AVK Innovation Award 2023 for the new CFP technology to Felix Weitmeier and Lazlo Giesgen KraussMaffei
Patented screw for easy retrofitting
The heart of the new CFP technology is a screw specially developed and patented by KraussMaffei that ensures a high degree of blending of fibers and polymer matrix and prevents fiber clusters. The patented screw can be retrofitted without any problems. The fibers are metered directly into the plasticizing unit together with the polymer granulate and additives. Thus, precompounding is no longer necessary.
The new CFP technology now makes it possible to manufacture fiber-reinforced components from chopped fiber with the same component properties as those from continuous fiber processing methods. This is associated with a significant reduction in machine, material and energy costs. "Thus the new process has the potential to replace the use of more expensive processes for continuous fiber processing in many cases," explains Felix Weitmeier, Process Engineering Team Leader at KraussMaffei.
The options to create its own recipes optimized for the respective application makes it possible for Wirthwein to produce customized products for its customers. "This minimizes overengineering of the materials and thus cuts costs and CO2 emissions, boosting competitiveness significantly," adds Jan Wiedemann, Head of Innovation and Materials at Wirthwein, explaining the benefits of the new CFP technology.
Renowned AVK Innovation Award
The renowned Innovation Award for fiber composite plastics of the AVK– Industrievereinigung Verstärkte Kunststoffe, a German plastics industry interest group, is given each year in three categories for outstanding composites innovations. An expert jury composed of engineers, scientists and industry journalists evaluates the submissions based on criteria such as level of innovation, degree of implementation and sustainability.