Functional integration made easy with FiberFormThe FiberForm process developed by KraussMaffei combines the thermoforming of composite sheets and injection molding in one process. The strength level of fiber-reinforced plastic components is increased through this procedure. The fully automated process enables short cycle times of less than 60 seconds and, therefore, production processes that are ready for large series. To date, FiberForm has been predominately used in the automotive industry. For example, seat shells and backrests are developed here in series production. Whether extra stiffness through adding ribs, shaped openings with a reinforced edge or complex geometries – the FiberForm process can be used to produce many things that would be nearly impossible as a sheet metal part. And all of this in only one process. At JEC, KraussMaffei is presenting infotainment holders developed jointly for Audi with partners Audi, Lanxess and Christian Karl Siebenwurst. Compared to a traditional steel sound holders, the FiberForm variant is half the weight, provides advantages in installation and the integration of additional functions.
But the product range of FiberForm is not just limited to applications in vehicle manufacturing: The most recent example, which can also be seen in Paris, is a multi-function stringer in the new Kingpin touring ski binding from Völkl. The basic body is made up of composite sheet, which is molded with a fiber-reinforced plastic and provided with multiple function elements. "The multi-function stringer is a perfect example of the advantages of FiberForm technology, that is to say generating defined mechanical properties and functional integration in only two process steps in one injection molding machine," explains Stefan Schierl, development engineer at KraussMaffei. On a small, narrow surface, the multi-function stringer contains three highly loaded function elements, all made from fiberglass-reinforced polyamide. In summation, the binding combines high function and safety, while maintaining a low weight at the same time.