HotTube - Consolidation of Curved Profiles

Mission Statement

Pultruded profiles made of fiber reinforced plastics (FRP) are suitable as a substitute material for steel and aluminum, for example in roof structures of automobiles, due to the lightweight construction potential. One approach to the economical production of profiles is the multifilament winding process. This shows an 81% higher productivity than established round braiding. In the production of complex or curved winding profiles, sub-segments are wrapped in the prior art, which are then joined to form a complex overall profile. This means an additional process step, material accumulation at the joints and an interruption of the power flow of the reinforcing fibers. A machine development by the Japanese project partner Murata Machinery Ltd., enables the direct wrapping of curved pro-files without joining individual elements.

Consolidation heats the entire form of consolidation in current processes. Complex and individual geometries require complex and expensive machine equipment. As part of the research project, the company Up2-Tec Prototyping GbR, Aachen, develops an innovative consolidation technique. It overcomes the challenges of homogeneous and complete consolidation of flexibly designed and three-dimensionally curved profiles. At the same time, Up2-Tec Prototyping can draw on the experience of over five years of successfully implemented innovations in the field of flexible consolidation techniques and systems.

Currently predominantly thermoset matrix systems are used. Due to the long curing times (> 60 min), the production process for the series is uneconomical and forms a niche product, for example in racing. The use of thermoplastic matrix systems can significantly reduce the process time. In addition to plant technology, material design will also be a focus of the research project. The economy of the whole process increases and rapid market penetration is favored.


The aim of the research project is the development of an energy-efficient and economical consolidation method for the production of curved winding profiles made of thermoplastic fiber composites.

Machine development by Murata Machinery Ltd., Japan, provides an innovative approach to wrapping three-dimensionally curved profile geometries. The profiles are wrapped in the whole and the process step of joining is eliminated. The power flow within the reinforcing fibers is not interrupted by disruptive joints and the profile can be designed load and structure with low weight.


HoopUnit      Muratec

Abb. 1 Windingmachine [Source: Murata Machinery Ltd.]


The company Up2-Tec Prototyping GbR from Aachen developed as a specialist in the prototype and composite sector, a new process technology for the consolidation of profile components.

On the one hand, this technique comprises the three-dimensionally curved core to be wrapped and, on the other hand, includes variable methods for consolidating the profiles. Depending on the requirements of the component such as surface quality and profile fidelity, the process parameters pressure and temperature are managed individually. The core is wrapped with a variothermal and elastic membrane and can be pressurized. This flexible core is set in a prototype that replicates the three-dimensional geometry and arranged almost rigidly for winding and consolidating. The central challenge of uniform consolidation of all wound layers is solved by this technique.



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Abb. 2 Method of Consolidation [Source: Up2-Tec Prototyping GbR]



We thank the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy for promoting the research project as part of the Central Innovation Program for SMEs.



Roman Holtz
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