To increase the lightweight potential of Sheet Molding Compound (SMC) materials and thereby open up additional applications for fiber-reinforced plastics in highly cost-driven sectors such as the automotive sector, a next generation of High-Performance SMC (HP-SMC) is required. These high-performance materials consist of short and continuous carbon and glass fibers and combinations of these as well as customized resin compounds.
In comparison to other materials, HP-SMC value chains are determined by a high number of interdependencies between material, processing and application properties which are both challenge and potential and will be addressed in recently launched study. The joint market and technology study on High-Performance SMC is provided by AZL Aachen GmbH in cooperation with the Institute of Plastics Processing (IKV) at RWTH Aachen University.
Dr. Thierry Renault, Manager of Partnerships at Faurecia Composite Technologies: “SMC is without any doubt the composite technology that is trusted by the automotive industry. There is for sure a strong renewed interest for standard SMC and also for its many evolutions and innovations that are now referred as High-Performance SMC.”
Peter Schmidt, Managing Director of Polynt in Miehlen, Germany also emphasizes the importance of taking SMC to the next level: “SMC has a long history at Polynt. We joined the study as the AZL offers us a platform to develop a high-performance version of SMC with enhanced raw materials, recipes and processes. This will allow us to open new application areas or to reactivate existing applications.”
The aim of the study is to provide in-depth knowledge on SMC applications, technologies and simulation methods. Key challenges, and technological solutions for establishing HP-SMC in markets with high demands on performance, predictability, reliability and costs are identified. This will serve as basis for the elaboration of design guidelines, a target-oriented development and to open up new business opportunities.
„The target is to achieve increased flexibility of the recipe and constant quality of the production process. The AZL Platform offers us the opportunity to discuss requirements of the process with established SMC producers and processors,” states Dr. Reiner Karl, Managing Director of Mahr Metering Systems GmbH.