Application Center for Wood Fiber Research HOFZET®

Research focus

Short-fiber-reinforced compounds and components

Extrusion and injection molding

Components made from fiber-reinforced plastic are very stable, are suitable for environmentally friendly lightweight solutions and offer diverse application possibilities, for example as office articles, building products and vehicle components. When natural fibers are applied as reinforcement, natural resources are additionally preserved. At the HOFZET, we are exploring the vast range of manufacturing and application possibilities for fiber-reinforced as well as filled and unfilled thermoplastics, all the way through to the finished component. For industrial customers, we develop compounds which are tailored to the final product and which are also cost-effective and environmentally compatible without compromising the process reliability necessary for serial production. In this way, sustainable material and process solutions are created which serve both business and research, whilst thereby meeting current social demands.

 

Within the framework of diverse research activities, we utilize various fiber types such as carbon, glass or bio-based fibers. The application of fibers not only reinforces the material but simultaneously also helps to reduce costs, as fibers are often less expensive than the source material. Depending on the target application, a particular fiber type with a suitable L/D ratio and a specific size distribution is selected. It is hereby important to make targeted use of the advantages of the individual reinforcing components as regards technical and economic aspects and to compensate as far as possible for disadvantages. Compounds and blends designed in this way (filled or fiber-reinforced) are processed in our extruders and subsequently further processed in our injection molding plants to form test specimens and components or are made available to the respective customer. Furthermore, the available equipment enables the development and combination of manufacturing methods from the semi-finished product through to the finished component in one single production step.

During the course of an application-oriented material development, the characterization of the processing behavior of these innovative materials as well as the analysis of the relationships between the material composition and the processing behavior are of major importance.

 

Special features

  • Development of customized, application-specific compounds for products ranging from automotive engineering to logistics
  • Lightweight solutions made from fiber composites through a process combination of injection molding and pressing
  • Depiction of both the entire process chain and the realization of individual process steps:
    • Mechanical and rheological characterization of compounds
    • Extrusion of profiles and flat films
    • Organic sheet semi-finished products
    • Tool development and simulation
    • Multi-component injection molding (from in-mold procedure to hard-soft applications)
    • Specifically adapted component testing

 

Typical materials

  • PLA, PA, PP, PE, PPS, PEEK
  • WPC, NFRP, GRP, CFRP