(5) Commercialization of PCM Processes
- The MOMA Concept Car and High Cycle CFRP Molding Processes
Automotive Materials Vol.10 No.2 December 2013 Issue #29
- ※Photographs and diagrams have been omitted for copyright reasons.
With assistance from a Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry program to support the advancement of strategic core technologies, Challenge and Mitsubishi Rayon have been striving to commercialize PCM processes. They have amassed enormous expertise in this field, and Challenge has already created mass-produced parts.
One example is a switch panel produced as an end product for the Nissan GT-R. The molded part that forms the basis of this panel (Figure 13) is shaped over the course of four processes: (1) laminating and pattern-cutting, (2) preforming (affixing prepreg to a preforming mold to create a shape close to the form of the product), (3) press molding (pushing prepreg into a mold for shaping), and (4) cooling and deburring (removing rough edges from the plastic once the CFRP has cooled).
In comparison to time-consuming conventional autoclave processing, PCM processing cuts the molding cycle to around 10 minutes, which streamlines the molding process and reduces production costs by 50%. Since there is no hand processing requiring special skills, discrepancies in product performance are minimized and product quality is stable.
Meanwhile, Challenge is working with Mitsubishi Rayon to establish PCM mass-production processes for trunk lids (Figure 14), and plans to begin the world’s first production of an automotive component using PCM processing at the end of 2013. To this end, it installed large presses and other equipment to reduce processing times.
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- Photographs and diagrams have been omitted for copyright reasons.