June 29, 2022

Additive Manufacturing Partnership Brings CFRP Into Mass Production

Solvay is working with 9T Labs to help mass-produce additively manufactured Carbon Fiber Reinforced Plastic (CFRP) parts. The joint effort enables 9TLabs’ innovative additive manufacturing technology to produce small to mid-size parts for the aerospace, medical, luxury / leisure, automation, and oil and gas industries .

Solvay will focus on the development of carbon fiber reinforced polyetheretherketone (CF / PEEK), CF reinforced high performance biobased polyamides and CF reinforced polyphenylene sulfide composite materials (CF / PPS). The partnership significantly expands the types of neat, carbon fiber reinforced material portfolio that 9T Labs currently offers to its customers.

9T Labs’ hybrid manufacturing technology enables the production of high performance structural parts – small and medium sizes and thick sections – of carbon fiber reinforced thermoplastic composites in production volumes ranging from 100 to 10,000 parts / year. By combining 3D printing – offering design freedom, part complexity, and control of fiber orientation – with compression molding into matching metal dies – delivering fast cycle times, high production rates , surface finishes with low voids, as well as high repeatability and reproducibility – system hybrid production offers the best of additive and conventional / subtractive manufacturing.

“With the innovative processes and equipment from 9T Labs and high performance thermoplastic materials from Solvay, we are well positioned to address the issues that have long plagued manufacturers in many industries attempting to use advanced composites – namely cost differential. high, high rejects and repeatability issues. and traceability at high volumes ”, explains Marco Apostolo, CTO at Solvay.

Solvay offers a portfolio of high performance thermoplastic polymers and in-depth expertise in the production of prepreg thermoplastic composite tapes. As a leader in thermoplastic composites, Solvay brings its expertise in the engineering of production processes to ensure that the technology can be integrated seamlessly into manufacturing lines.

“For the fabrication of structural parts, metals are still prevalent because the fabrication of structural parts in CFRP has not been cost-competitive,” adds Giovanni Cavolina, co-founder and commercial director of 9T Labs. “The Red Series platform, together with Solvay’s high performance and recyclable materials, will change that and make CFRP parts more durable, accessible and competitive, especially for higher volumes. “