Heating organic sheets: Before forming fiber-reinforced thermoplastics, heating to the forming temperature is necessary

In the automotive industry, hybrid lightweight construction describes the trend-setting way to reduce vehicle weight and increase resource efficiency. In addition to aluminum, duroplastic and thermoplastic fiber composites are used, which are referred to as organic sheets. The key to large-scale production of fiber-reinforced plastics components is the use of established manufacturing processes, such as sheet metal forming. Prior to the thermoforming of the organic sheet, it must first be heated to the forming temperature. In this case, the thermoplastic matrix reaches the glass transition temperature and is then formed in a forming press and optionally back-injected. Due to the cost pressure and the availability on the world market, in addition to glass fiber reinforced plastic (GRP), carbon fiber reinforced plastic (CFRP) is used in highly stressed areas.

Infrared radiation as an optimal heat source for organic sheet heating

High throughput plays a decisive role in industrial series production. Therefore, a rapid and reliable heating of the plastic matrix is ​​existential. Otherwise required quantities would not be reached and other materials would be used. Infrared heaters provide a powerful yet efficient source of heat, which allows heating of the organic sheets to forming temperature in less than 60 seconds. In addition to fast heating and reaction times, infrared radiators offer direct, exact and process-reliable controllability, depending on the product temperature.

What should be considered in the production of organic sheets?

In order to reshape thermoplastics, it is necessary to reach the respective glass transition temperature. Overheating of the semi-finished products must be prevented. Equally decisive criteria are temperature homogeneity and sufficient heat-soaking. The regulation of the heating output according to product temperature ensures an automated and safe process. With the help of pyrometers, the temperature of the organic sheets or organosheets is measured contactfree.

The advantages of organic sheet processing with infrared at a glance

  • High power density and thus:
    • Short heating times
    • Increase of throughput
    • Saving of production space
  • Non-contact heating of the plastic matrix
  • High reaction speed, thus short start-up times
  • High flexibility with different component sizes by switching on and off of individual spotlights
  • High efficiency and thus efficient heating with low heat loss
  • Process-reliable heating via exact and targeted temperature control
  • Simple and safe operation as well as automated integration into the process chain