Fibre reinforced composite cooperation between TenCate and BASF
On October 25, Dutch TenCate Advanced Composites and BASF have entered into a strategic alliance to cooperate on the development, production and commercialisation of thermoplastic composite materials suitable for high volume automobile and vehicle production
The aim of the partnership is to offer to automotive manufacturers custom-engineered solutions for high-performance composite structures to enable them to further reduce weight and carbon dioxide emissions. The growing need of the automotive industry for composite materials, used in mass production, is calling for a rapid development of materials and manufacturing processes.
TenCate Advanced Composites has according to in-house information a leading market position in continuous fibre reinforced thermoplastic composites with the TenCate Cetex®product portfolio, currently mainly used for aircraft structures and interiors. At present, new aircraft such as Airbus A380, A350 and Boeing 787 are the main users of such material. BASF is the leading chemical company with an extensive network in the automotive industry, by combining both companies capabilities in automotive composite solutions, the required developments will be accelerated.
In the strategic alliance, BASF will contribute its comprehensive know-how in the production and formulation of thermoplastic resins in order to develop special variants of its Ultramid® (PA). Ultradur® (PBT), and Ultrason® (PESU) product lines. TenCate joins with their expertise in composite manufacturing. Together both companies are dedicated to automotive composite materials (UD-tapes, prepregs and laminates) based on these specialty resin systems. The breakthrough for composites to mass production has not yet taken place but jointly the two companies hope to get to it.
Compared to metal parts, fibre reinforced plastic composites can be 30 % to 50 % lighter. Thermoplastic composites help car manufacturers to economise the fuel efficiency of automobiles and to safe costs on manufacturing. Due to the ease of thermoplastic processing, these advanced materials will dramatically reduce production cycle time, have no limitation in shelf life and is recyclable.
Thermoplastic laminates with continuous fibre reinforcement are woven or non-woven fabrics impregnated with resins and formed into sheets, which are extremely light yet very strong. UD-tapes, another product class, make full use of the anisotropic nature of uni-directionally (UD) oriented impregnated fibres. In a second step , these semi-finished products can be formed into more complex parts and overmolded by means of injection molding. This combination results in components that are enhanced by a high degree of functional integration.