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MAI Sandwich: a novel structural concept for lightweight constructionSave time and money with the new sandwich construction method

Lightweight materials and their processing methods are in constant development. Sandwich construction with composite materials is one such method. A particularly light core is covered on both sides with layers made of fibre-reinforced plastic.

The requirement

The production of ‘sandwich structures’ has, until now, been very time-consuming and costly. Through the MAI Sandwich research project, the development partners involved, including Hofmann Impulsgeber, were able to show that these cycle times can be significantly reduced.

The solution

A group of several development partners carried out further basic research into sandwich construction in the project. The participants developed a completely new, integrated sandwich structure concept for components made of composite materials in the aerospace and automotive sectors. This concept uses innovative and fully thermoplastic material designs with recycled carbon fibres. Processing takes place in the course of a highly efficient manufacturing process in which different components interact in the best way possible. One aspect is the pure use of meltable thermoplastic materials in the core and in the top layers. Another is that the partners developed a new, coordinated manufacturing sequence that combines the three processes of thermoforming, injection moulding and welding in a largely automated manufacturing facility.

The success

Cycle times could be reduced from up to one day for the conventional manufacturing of a standard component, down to 5 minutes for a similar component in aviation and down to 2.5 minutes for a component in the automotive sector. Components with this sandwich structure are particularly low-weight and highly rigid. This construction method is particularly suitable for applications such as floor panels and cladding in the interior of aircraft and for the underbody and back panels in cars.

Funded by

Supervised by

Project participants