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Competence Day Pultrusion at KraussMaffei

News 20.07.2017

Participation of visitors from China, Japan and the U.S. in the Munich event was a clear sign of the value brought by the new technology from KraussMaffei. On June 28, the company experts presented iPul, the innovative complete system for continuous pultrusion. The registration deadline had even to be moved to an earlier date considering the demand for participation. Four of the top ten global pultrusion specialists came to Munich, as did automotive experts, window makers or sports sector producers.

iPul system: A humble revolution

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Ready for the visitors: Final touches to the iPul system

Nicolas Beyl, president of the Reaction Process Machinery division of KraussMaffei Group, said in his welcome speech: "It is the easiest way of producing profiles. There are hardly any turnkey offers, and it is a growth sector. In addition, we are knowledgeable about fibers, metering technology and even about extrusion." Thus, the motivation of KraussMaffei to enter the pultrusion segment is perfectly understandable.

Premiered at the JEC trade fair in Paris, the complete iPul system has sparked a high interest. Over 200 guests flew to the Competence Day for witnessing live demonstrations of the system. Development partners and raw material suppliers gave presentations; a "speed dating" between experts rounded up the day.

Pultrusion concept means that long fibers — usually carbon, glass, or aramide ones — are infiltrated with a reactive plastic matrix with the subsequent forming of a desired profile in a heated mold. The cured profile is pulled continuously by grippers and fed into a sawing device.

The new iPul system comprises the entire sequence. It is qualified as revolutionary in two respects. Traditionally, fibers are infiltrated in open vessels. iPul encapsulates this step in an injection box, allowing for the use of fast-reacting materials (epoxy, PU, PA6). Also, it speeds up the production from the conventional 0.5...1.5 to some 3 m/min. Thus, the technology comes closer to PVC extrusion by efficiency, and can be marketed much more widely than before.

Growth prospects underlined by the presenters

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Daniel Lachhammer, Nicolas Beyl, Josef Renkl and Wolfgang Hinz (left to right)

Daniel Lachhammer and Wolfgang Hinz are pultrusion experts at KraussMaffei. They spoke on how the iPul technology has been developing since the beginning of 2016. The name of the new system has as well been explained: "The 'i' in iPul stands for injected, innovative, integrated and industrialized, which are the core features of our system."

Development partners, as for them, helped shedding light on particular aspects of pultrusion. Dr. Klaus Jansen of Thomas Technik focused his presentation on producing curved and complex-shape profiles. It has been immediately clear for the guests why the two partners complement each other that well. It is the question of taking pleasure in creating ideal solutions whatever the application is, coupled with focus on efficiency, industrial expertise, and global marketing.

Renato Bezerra spoke on research capabilities of Fraunhofer IGCV, the institute he works with. Stephan Constantino came from Huntsman who collaborates with KraussMaffei in developing solutions for wind power stations. Evonik's Wladimir Richter presented some of pultrusion applications in construction. For example, sandwich pane facade replaces steel with pultruded glass fiber reinforcement. The result is concrete layer allowed to be much thinner than the norms for corroding reinforcements (10...15 vs. 40 mm). Finally, Benedikt Kilian of Covestro overviewed the benefits of PU versus traditional matrix materials such as polyester (lower mechanical performance) and competitors' technologies such as aluminum extrusion (inferior shape stability and insulation properties).

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The guests at the Competence Day Pultrusion at KraussMaffei examined the new iPul system very closely

The new iPul system, live

Before starting the live demonstration of an iPul system, the management of KraussMaffei, represented by Nicolas Beyl, Wolfgang Hinz, Daniel Lachhammer and Josef Renkl, cut the ribbon. The latter is a development director who was retiring the very same day after working for KraussMaffei for over 40 years.

Then, the guests were invited to question the experts of KraussMaffei and its partners directly. The highly successful Competence Day Pultrusion ended up with a guided tour through the production facilities and a cocktail in the evening.

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