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News

Partnership to develop bio-based long carbon fibre thermoplastic (LFT) composites

DSM Engineering Plastics (Heerlen) : 04 October, 2013  (Company News)
Royal DSM has signed a partnership agreement with PlastiComp (based in Winona, Minnesota, USA), to develop bio-based Long Fibre Thermoplastic (LFT) composites for the automotive and other markets.
PlastiComp specialises in long fibre reinforced composite thermoplastic technology: LFT (long fibre reinforced thermoplastic pellets), D-LFT (direct long fibre reinforced thermoplastic), and D-GMT (direct glass mat thermoplastic). Complēt composite pellets, produced with LFT technology, are made for the injection moulding market in standard as well as custom formulations. PlastiComp manufactures and installs Pushtrusion machinery for direct in-line compounding as a D-LFT technology for injection moulding as well as a D-GMT technology for compression molding. In addition, PlastiComp undertakes part moulding and contract research in material formulation, part testing, process development, and evaluation.
 
Central to this partnership is DSM’s EcoPaXX polyamide 410, 70% derived from renewable resources, and PlastiComp’s expertise in LFT composite design and manufacturing. Initial compounding, moulding and testing of carbon-fibre reinforced EcoPaXX was successful in establishing benchmark composites for high-temperature (up to 200C) and structural applications. 
 
The LFT composites DSM is co-developing with PlastiComp include compounds reinforced with glass fibr as well as carbon fibre. They have much improved Life Cycle Analysis (LCA) scores, thanks to the carbon-neutral cradle-to-gate footprint of the EcoPaXX polymer. These composites are well suited to weight optimisation efforts in the automotive industry for fuel savings and lowered emissions. 
 
The two partner companies will also collaborate with potential customers to design injection-moulded composite parts. They will employ computer-aided engineering (CAE) tools to optimise fibre architecture to meet dimensional tolerances, surface finish and high-temperature properties.
 
While the principal focus of the partnership is on automotive applications, these composites are also attractive in other metal-replacement applications, including electromagnetic interference (EMI) shielding for electronics, and radiolucency in X-Ray applications. 
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