Solvay is working with advanced manufacturing solution OEM, 9T Labs to help bring additively-manufactured CFRP composite parts to mass production.
The joint effort enables 9T Labs’ additive manufacturing technology to produce low-to-medium volume size parts for the aerospace, medical, luxury/leisure, automation, and oil & gas industries.
Solvay will focus on the development of carbon fibre-reinforced polyetheretherketone (CF/PEEK), CF-reinforced bio-based high performance polyamides and CF-reinforced polyphenylene sulfide (CF/PPS) composite materials. The partnership significantly expands the types of neat and carbon fibre-reinforced materials portfolio that 9T Labs currently offers to customers.
“With 9T Labs’ innovative process and equipment and Solvay’s high-performance thermoplastic materials, we are well positioned to address problems that have long plagued manufacturers in many industries trying to use advanced composites — namely high incremental costs, high scrap, and problems achieving repeatability and traceability at high volumes,” explained Marco Apostolo, director of technology at Solvay. “We believe this collaboration will help solve many challenges and will open entirely new markets and mass production applications to CFRP materials.”
Solvay offers a portfolio of high-performance thermoplastic polymers and expertise in the production of thermoplastic composite prepreg tape. As one of the leaders in thermoplastic composites, Solvay brings expertise in the engineering of production processes to ensure the technology can be integrated seamlessly into manufacturing lines.
“For the fabrication of structural parts metals still prevail because the manufacturing of structural CFRP parts has not been cost-competitive,” added Giovanni Cavolina, 9T Labs’ co-founder and chief commercial officer. “The Red Series platform in combination with Solvay’s high-performance and recyclable materials will change this and make CFRP parts more sustainable, accessible and cost-competitive, especially at higher volumes.”
9T Labs’ hybrid manufacturing technology enables high-performance structural parts in challenging small-to-medium size and thick sections to be produced in carbon fibre-reinforced thermoplastic composites in production volumes ranging from 100 to 10,000 parts/year.