The pilot line HCIM (Horizontal Composite Injection Molding) enables producing of composite parts, with size up to 1,5 m, based on overmoulding technology in a cycle time around 1 minute. The HCIM process involves the heating and the forming of thermoplastic prepregs, followed by an injection-molding step in order to overmould some areas of the prepregs. The insertion of electronic components like printed sensors, as well as the use of functional materials, enable the manufacturing of smart composite parts.
In-line control of this process is enabled by temperature and pressure measurements in the mold during the process. In addition, non-destructive testing (NDT) technologies are available to provide information about inserts localization and defects (porosity, delamination, impurity, fiber orientation, void, welding line). Infra-Red (IR) Thermography associate to therahertz technology enables to detect defects and inserts in parts. IR Thermography has a higher resolution with carbon fibre, contrary to Terahertz, which is outperform with glass fibre.
Main advantages of these technologies are non-destructive and non-contact testing, repeatability of results and speed of the scan.