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Summary & Team

Tailored fibre placement (TFP) is a textile process that can be used to manufacture high-performance lightweight components. The process is so material efficient that there is almost no fibre waste. The fibres can be placed specifically where high forces occur. The team, consisting of the Institut für Textiltechnik (ITA) of RWTH Aachen University and the company Hollmann GmbH from Cologne, has developed a new process chain to further exploit the advantages of the TFP process and provide a solution for future hybrid construction.

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“The project enables the further development of the TFP technology as well as the joining technology for fibre composites on industry-related series processes. The fact that the process time can be reduced by more than 85 % to a few seconds and that fibre material can be reduced at the same time is highly innovative. In the developed approach, the full potential of TFP technology as hole reinforcement can be fully utilised.”

Max SchwabProject Statement

“Coming from the textile finishing sector, we were able to use this project as an opportunity to further develop our company in the direction of technical applications. In addition to the knowledge and skills for additive manufacturing, important contacts in science and industry could be established.”

Lars HollmannProject Statement

“The successful outcome of this project, brings the TFP technology to a level of automation unseen before, allowing the creation of countless but innovative composite hybrid structure, for the most different industries and applications.”

Matteo Moretti
Project Statement

“TFP technology makes a significant contribution to high-performance components and combines this with the ideal use of standardized fastening solutions. In this way, high-quality constructions are realized economically and reliably at the same time.”

Christian Busch
Bossard Deutschland GmbH
Project Statement

Max Schwab

Dr. Ing. | Scientific Researcher TFP

Lars Hollmann

Chief Business Development Officer

The Vision

The dissemination of TFP technology into industrial processes is the top priority.

The dissemination of TFP technology into industrial processes is the top priority. This technology is extremely promising, especially in the age of limited resources and CO2 emissions for production processes: CO2 can be saved in the transport sector by reducing vehicle weight, and the reduction of fibre waste means that there are no waste volumes that need to be recycled at all. In addition, the TFP process will be used specifically for the functionalisation of fibre composite structures. The TFP textiles are to be specifically equipped with metallic inserts and thus be available as a joining technology for fibre composite and metal components.

Introduction & Key Points

The development of a highly automated manufacturing process for fibre composite hybrid
components should allow the production of functionalised reinforcement textiles using TFP.

> Increasing demand for detachable joining technologies, in particular in the automotive industry

> The design of hybrid components is increasing and is to be made easier. For this purpose, metallic inserts are suitable as joining technology for fibre composite and metal parts.

> Adhesive and mechanical joining technologies are currently used for this purpose.

> The limiting factors are bonding surfaces and bonding strengths.

> Increased tool wear when drilling FRP components

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Quelle: | Verbindungstechniken in der Karosserie | Bild-Nr: A155355 | Copyright: AUDI AG

Hybrid components are becoming increasingly important, especially in the automotive industry. This calls for detachable joining technologies for high-performance fibre composite and metal components. Such technologies are used, for example, in BMW's 7 Series for parts made of metal
and carbon fibre reinforced plastics (CFRP). The CFRPs are characterized by the absorption of high forces and stresses that occur in the car body and can contribute to a lower vehicle weight and centre of gravity due to the low component density. One of the major challenges is the (detachable)
joining of the fibre composite and metal components.
Until now, metallic on or inserts have either had to be glued onto the consolidated component in a time-consuming process or consolidated components have had to be drilled. The limitation of the bonding force is on the one hand the adhesive's adhesive strength and on the other hand the high tool wear when drilling the components.
Therefore, a process chain is being developed in the "TFPInsert" project that enables the insertion of inserts into the dry, textile preform before it is infiltrated and consolidated. This eliminates time-consuming process steps (up to 30 %), which contribute a significant amount to the production costs, especially due to fibre material waste.
Tailored Fibre Placement (TFP) enables the load path-oriented, near-net-shape and efficient fibre placement of carbon fibres. Typical cutting rates of 30-50 % can be reduced to less than 5 %. In the project, a so-called insert applicator was developed for the TFP process, which was implemented on the embroidery machine of Hollmann GmbH, Cologne. The applicator enables the automated application and precise fixing of inserts in TFP preforming production.
Advantages of insert integrationThe TFP Insert preform made in this way is produced without any fibre cuttings and only needs to be separated from the embroidery substrate (for example glass fibre nonwoven). The preform is then draped into a specially designed tool, impregnated in a vacuum infusion process and consolidated. In this process, the layers can no longer slide off each other due to the stitched fibres, which significantly simplifies the draping process.
By integrating the inserts using the TFP process, the tear-out strength (out-of-plane) can be increased by 20 to 40 %. Thus, the potential of increasing performance through textile-based insert integration can be shown.

Vision & Idea

Design & Draft


Machine programming for the TFP process requires an in-depth knowledge of the material with a high productivity in mind.

Preforming TFP Manufacturing

Tool Manufacturing

Test Method

Active double-wire fibre supply units
Active double-wire carbon supply units
Control unit
Linear drive
Feeder rail
Insert magazin
ZSK a lifetime
Roll2Roll device
Pneumatic clamping frame

Scope & approach

> Automated TFP process for the functionalised TFP preforms – in a single process step.

> High-precision fixation of metallic inserts into TFP semi-finished products

> The use of Tailored Fibre Placement (TFP) is justified by tailor-made, near-net-shape preforms and the reduction of fibre waste to less than 5

> The „InsertApplicator“ can be mounted directly on the TFP machine and enables the automated depositing of metallic inserts and precise fixing of the inserts during TFP preforming

The Results

The embedding of the inserts in the preform and the simultaneous hole reinforcement in the TFP process enables maximum optimisation of mechanical performance

Results & application

> Fully automatic integration process of inserts into the TFP process.

> The pull-out strength due of the TFPInsert approach can increase by 20 to 40%.

> Process time is reduced when integrating inserts

    • minimisation of the necessary process steps
    • minimisation of the total time from 200 s to only 16 s

> Bicycle brake disc as demonstrator component

    • No fibre waste is generated during production
    • fibre layers are compacted by the TFP process
    • Composite part and wheel hub can be joined detachably
Friction surface
Composite integrated insert
TFP composite part
Wheel hub
IS2000 6-hole connectors
Involved, Contact & Literature

Institut für Textiltechnik (ITA) der RWTH Aachen University
Otto-Blumenthal-Straße 1, 52074 Aachen, Germany
Telefon: +49 241 80-23400
Fax: +49 241 80-22422

Hollmann GmbH, Cologne, Germany
Poller Kirchweg 78-90, 51105 Köln, Germany
Telefon: +49 221 422 93 93


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Acknowledgement We would like to thank the Federal Ministry of Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi) for the financial support of the research project „TFPInsert“ within the framework of the Central Innovation Programme for SMEs (ZIM).

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