Why Mu-Tool?
Very energy efficient process for high performance and light-weight plastic composites with cost advantage for high-end applications
Mu-tool Benefits
By reducing production costs considerably, Mu-Tool will give European SMEs a competitive advantage against their global rivals.
Competitive Advantages of Mu-Tool Project
 

To use microwaves and novel ceramic tooling incorporating a microwave absorber layer for the rapid heating of composites for the processing of large polymer matrix composite (PMC) structures. The basic principle relies on a microwave absorbent layer on the tool, which will absorb microwaves and turn this into heat. The heat will then transfer in conduction/convection to the composite part, saving the need to heat (and cool) the chamber and tool. The process will lead to reduced manufacturing time and cost (by approximately 50%), and reduced process energy consumption (at least 33%).

By reducing processing time and cost, the targeted application areas for composite components can be broadened to include industries where the ability to mass-produce lighter parts at lower cost is imperative. Thus, the automotive and rail industries will be key beneficiaries of this development. Lower-weight and lower-cost components are essential if the fuel efficiency of existing vehicles and future hybrid/electric variants is to be improved, and lower cost PMC structures offer significant advantages.

Developing this technology within the EU ensures access to the SMEs involved in this proposal assuring them of world leading capability and know-how, beating global competition and access to the growing composites market.  Last, but not the least, the European aerospace industry should be expected to gain a lot from this project as well; especially in the processing of thermoplastics composites. This area is in a fast growing development phase and needs high curing temperatures, which are within the reach of the proposed Mu-Tool technology.

 

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