Fraunhofer Project Centre for Composites Research at The University of Western Ontario

Press Release / 22.9.2011

In July 2011, the Fraunhofer Institute for Chemical Technology ICT began a long-term collaboration with The University of Western Ontario (Western) in London, Ontario. German and Canadian researchers will work together on the process and material development of composite materials for the transportation, construction materials, and renewable energy sectors in the joint “Fraunhofer Project Centre for Composites Research @ Western,“ a latest state-of-the-art equipped press centre in full industrial scale.

Lightweight construction is a globally significant research field, in which Germany has assumed a leading role. Fibre composites are finding increasing application, particularly in the automotive sector, as these composites offer not only a low density but also the possibility of integrated functions. Over the past few years the Fraunhofer ICT in Pfinztal has carried out extensive process and material research and development work for the lightweight sector.

The main focus of research at the Fraunhofer Project Centre for Composites Research @ Western will therefore be fibre composites for lightweight construction in various markets. Work will be oriented particularly towards the regional North American market. The Fraunhofer Project Centre will be equipped with a latest state of the art hydraulic press with a maximum clamping force of 2,500 tons suitable for research on parts in full industrial scale. Material and process research will be carried out in the technologies Direct – Sheet Moulding Compound (D-SMC), Long Fiber Reinforced Thermoplastics (LFT) and High Pressure Resin Transfer Moulding (HP RTM) for a sustainable use of the lightweight potential of these high volume composite technologies in the automotive industry, machines and equipment industry and aviation industry. Equipped with this full industrial scale processing equipment and as a part of The University of Western Ontario the Fraunhofer Project Centre offers possibilities for collaboration in bilateral projects up to multilateral public funded research projects. The service portfolio of the FPC contains:

  • Research in materials, simulation, design
  • Optimizing of existing processes and materials
  • Development of new processes and materials as well as transition of lab scale basic research results into industrial applications
  • Part, process, material and tooling innovations
  • Competence along the whole value chain from product engineering up to manufacturing of demonstrator parts

Western will contribute its scientific excellence in the field of surface technologies and material sciences. The clear strategic orientation of the University towards modern manufacturing systems is also a key aspect within the cooperation. An additional factor is that London is located at the heart of the Canadian automobile industry, and only a short distance away from the major North American automotive construction centres in Detroit. The University has obtained significant funding from the City of London for cooperation within the Fraunhofer Project Centre. The joint Project Centre will run for an initial period of five years.