The composite materials’ industry is growing thanks to a growing demand in such technological markets as aerospace, as well as other segments such as sporting goods and construction, in a context in which demand is expected of light and low-consumption vehicles and the emerging trend of electric cars is driving their increase.
This is foreseen, coinciding with the celebration of the virtual fair JEC Composites Connect, the director of the Technological Unit of Composites of the technological center Eurecat (MAV – Advanced Materials Cluster of Catalonia member), María Eugenia Rodríguez, for whom “the increase of the consciousness of the manufacturers of components towards the Strict government regulations on emission control is also an opportunity for the growth of the composites market”.
According to him, there are “three major challenges in the automotive sector for composite materials, which are cost, production rate and sustainability“, which are key to the optimization of design, the development of sustainable materials, the design of molds and optimized tools, the improved productive processes and the recycling and the valorisation not only to reduce his environment mental impact, but also to reduce costs ”.
To achieve this, he emphasizes, “all actors in the value chain must be involved”, as “only in this way will we be able to see light, sustainable and affordable vehicles in the short or medium term”.
“Thanks to the unmatched characteristics and properties of composites, companies in many sectors are interested in replacing other materials with composite materials” and therefore have the need to introduce or adapt their production processes to be able to manufacture composite components with the same reliability and quality that with conventional materials”, details.
Although composites “are strategic materials for the main productive sectors, since weight reduction is one of their priorities, there are important limitations in terms of production rate, reliability of manufacturing processes and costs” that require the integration of “technical developments based on Composites 4.0 concepts, in order to largely solve these obstacles and investigate their full potential,” he adds.
In this context, the application of Industry 4.0 in the manufacture of composites consists mainly in the automation and digitization of processes in order to improve their productivity and efficiency, through a wide range of digital capabilities, ranging from sensors for capturing and transmitting information, the Internet of Things, cognitive and cloud-based computing, monitoring and control of physical processes, as well as decision support systems.
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