New carbon fibre tech centre and recycling process
Thanks to sponsors, STFI Saxon Textile Research Institute Chemnitz is able to invest around EUR 3 million in new engineering technology in various sectors among a new carbon fibre tech centre (investment EUR 1.5 million). It has recently also developed a new carbon fibre recycling process
These important news were conveyed on May 2nd at the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the Institute attended by around 250 German and foreign guests. STFI is partner for 800 different customers from 60 countries. Actually 120 collaborators are assigned to around 100 research and development projects and thereof 14 from the EU. Each year around ten patents or rights are filed with the relevant bodies and the institute reported for 2011 a turnover of EUR 12 million. STFI is considered as one of the most efficient among the 16 German textile research institutes and specializes in mobile, protection and geo-textiles, textile filtration and home textiles. It is world class in nonwovens research and since 1949 enhancing the regional invention Malimo® stitch bonding process. STFI is not governmental funded and acquires research projects via tender and from industries. It is also an accredited testing unit for Öko-Tex Standard 100 and personal protection outfits and is the only German institute to test sun protection measures in interior located layers of materials.
The institute has developed recently a new process for reuse of carbon fibre waste. Of course we know that one kilogram of carbon fibre costs between EUR 15 to EUR 500. Recycled carbon fibre can be applied for example in composites. The new process of waste was in the focus of interest recently at the Paris technical exhibition JEC Composites Europe in March.
Carbon fibre recycling needs high temperature in order to separate the carbon fibre and resin, this process is done for STFI by an outside specialised company. The carbon fibre mass in different forms is subject of a tearing process at the institute to create a carbon fibre chaos to be transferred in a carding machine into a loose fleece made out of most long fibres. The fleece can be mixed with thermoplastic fibres and is then undergoing a reinforcing process by the also formerly developed stitch bonding method Maliwatt or by other technologies to allow a base for industrial applications.