Lantor expands internal material testing capabilities to include autoclave and press-forming simulations
When it comes to lightweight a monolithic shell part, or to produce products fast and with optimal surface quality Lantor has expertise and textile solutions in FRP products. A custom press mould from Lanulfi and the laboratory press LabEcon from Fontijne Presses are the right tools to achieve that.
Lantor Composites – Textile solutions for fiber reinforced products
Lantor has a history of creating high value products and ‘first-to-market’ with innovations. In addition, Lantor provides extensive technical support to customers worldwide, both directly and through an extensive network of distributors.
For the composites industry Lantor volumizes the non-woven with microspheres to create flexible core materials and for the construction industry Lantor creates moisture retaining fleece for barns and warehouses.
With their unique microsphere technology, Lantor Composites provides thin core solutions for optimal weight and superior surface quality. Brands such as Coremat®, Soric® and Finishmat® have been household names in the industry for decades and continue to be at the cutting edge of technology. With their latest additions, Skincore® and Teccore®, Lantor makes a next step into creating smarter composites.
Building microsandwiches for ultimate light weight in advanced composites
Ward Steijn, Technical Product Manager Composite at Lantor, showing the first result of a thermopress cycle with snap-cure carbon fiber prepreg and Teccore® TG180. Cycle time 7 minutes.
Introduced by Lantor in 2020, Teccore® is the latest addition to the Lantor foam core family. Teccore® is specifically developed for carbon fiber based microsandwiches where light weight and surface quality are the most important performance requirements. Teccore® is a thin textile foam core that reduces the amount of fiber layers and resin needed or provides in additional part stiffness. The black random dot foam structure presents you a unique opportunity to prevent resin shrinkage and fiber washing effects and optimizes the surface quality of your composite part.
Teccore® can be used in Infusion, RTM, Compression Moulding and prepreg processes, with or without autoclave. With the development of Teccore®, Lantor offers a core that reduces the carbon content of thin walled body panels, maintains a class A surface finish and can be processed with heat and pressure intensive processes like autoclave and thermopressing.
Since the start of the Teccore® program, Lantor has been working closely with industry partners, OEM’s, Tier 1 and Tier 2 suppliers to test and validate Teccore® with successful implementation in production vehicles as a result. This gives Lantor’s partners a taste for more and a need for faster development and testing.
Close-up of the carbon fiber detail on the sample from the upper picture. No post processing is applied to the surface of this sample
Higher production throughput thanks to the LabEcon laboratory press
Lantor is using a LabEcon laboratory press from Fontijne Presses for a long time to be able to simulate certain production processes. This facilitates quality control, product improvement and new product innovation. The lab press supports dual functionalities in our R&D: On one hand, it is essential for representative mimicking part of the production processes of our products off-line, allowing therefore improving on quality controls, recipe changes and progress new developments without disrupting the production.
Ward Steijn, Technical Product Manager Composites at Lantor, explains:
“The press from Fontijne Presses helps us considerably in speeding up our quality control processes and getting a higher throughput. With this, a series of tests that our R&D can do on the press in a day would otherwise require several shifts on the production line and subsequent lost production.
We cannot begin to estimate the savings the press affords us.”
Lanulfi mould in the LabEcon laboratory press from Fontijne Presses ready to be heated and put under pressure. The blue vacuum line is also attached.
The control over temperature, pressure and cycle duration afforded by the Fontijne Presses laboratory press allows Lantor to iterate in a quick manner which leads to lower development times and costs as they do not need to stop the production line for these tests.
On the other hand, recently Lantor is also able to use the Fontijne Presses press to simulate certain application processes of customers, most notably in the automotive industry. For this, to be able to consistently offer the highest quality product, Lantor has worked together with its partner Lanulfi Moulds SRL to create a custom press mould that works with the existing Fontijne Presses laboratory press at Lantor.
Thanks to their know-how and problems solving capacity, Lanulfi advised, designed and built the press mould that Lantor needed to exact specifications and with a very limited workspace. The mould allows to create double curved (locally and globally) panels in thicknesses starting at 1 mm up to 10 mm whilst the programmable press provides exact pressures and temperatures to match the production process being simulated. Vacuum can be applied to the mould when required for example to simulate autoclave conditions.
Edze Visscher, research and development manager at Lantor BV says:
“It is Lantor’s mission to sell products with unique properties and the highest added value for our customers. To be successful in this task it is essential to be able to do in-house application development and understand the behavior of materials in customer processes. We are very happy with this new technology in our laboratory, which gives us the opportunity to simulate press-forming and autoclave processes and develop and optimize unrivalled product concepts with our unique materials.”
Collaboration with Fontijne Presses
Lantor praises the laboratory press from Fontijne Presses for the high throughput and reliable results, as well for the fact that it is an affordable high-quality equipment. Ward Steijn adds about the collaboration with Fontijne Presses:
“The Fontijne Presses team offers personal advice regarding the available options and possibilities and thinks with us and helped us select the best equipment for the job. We have a dual relationship – being a customer for the laboratory press and also as peers in the form of suppliers to the composites market; this double role we have allows us to understand each other’s needs and to better communicate which each other allowing us both to improve the services we provide. We learn from each other’s expertise and experience, and that brings us further.”