Fiberforge, headquartered in Colorado, USA, ceased operations in June 2013 and its technology and intellectural property was put up for sale.

German equipment supplier Dieffenbacher has invested in the automated tape placement technology so that it can expand its product portfolio in the growing market for lightweight thermoplastic structural components.

The tape layup technology facilitates the manufacture of components made from continuous fibre-reinforced thermoplastics based on unidirectional (UD) fibre tapes. Such components are of interest to the aviation and automotive industries.

Fibre tapes are available in a wide range of material combinations with different resin systems and fibre materials such as glass fibres or carbon fibres. The UD fibre loading has typically extremely high fibre weight contents of between 60-70%.

Local reinforcement

In addition to applications using fibre tape structures alone, Dieffenbacher says that it is planning to integrate the tape layup technology into the LFT-D (long fibre thermoplastic - direct) system to create the Tailored LFT-D technology. By combining these materials, components with local fibre-tape reinforcement for specific applications can be manufactured.

These components can subsequently be integrated into large-scale production to achieve high levels of structural rigidity at a low cost.

This process provides a high degree of flexibility when it comes to the structural design of the components. As a result, various material variants can be manufactured ecomically on a single system.