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ZF opens composites tech center

ZF has inaugurated its all-new composites tech center in Germany, where the company will develop manufacturing processes for the volume production of fiber-reinforced plastics (FRP) products.

The centerpiece of the ZF composites tech centre is a press that can be used to produce components from duroplastic materials according to the RTM process. The center, located in Schweinfurt, will also allow ZF to produce minor quantities of complex FRP parts that are suitable for prototypes. Since the beginning of 2012, ZF has invested a total of 3.1 million Euros in machines and buildings for the center.

Michael Hankel, member of the ZF Board of Management, stated: "In the past few years, we have established vast basic knowledge and gained experience in lightweight design and we have increasingly been using fiber-reinforced plastics for this purpose".

With the composites tech centre, we are now focusing specifically on the process technologies for volume production using these materials and we want to make this knowledge available throughout the Group.”

Dr Ignacio Lobo Casanova will head the ZF composites tech centre, which will initially be run by four engineers. Apart from a press with a high-pressure injection unit for various resin hardener systems, there will also be systems for further processing, including a robot and an infrared and tempering furnace.

Talking about the center and the innovation that’s going to take place there, Casanova added, "Part of our basic research work aims at making samples available from different material systems in order to determine the corresponding material characteristics. These again are stored as material models in a simulation process chain in order to be able to use simulations in the future to make product and process development leaner".

The ZF composites tech center will start operations directly after its inauguration. What’s more, there is further space on the plant premises for future expansions of the center.

1 August 2013


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