A Cooperative Research Centre-backed project has allowed Wagners Composite Fibre Technologies to develop a new way to make composite structures, saving time in the production of high-performing construction materials.
The $10 million collaborative project began in 2019 and teamed Wagners CFT up with University of Southern Queensland and Allnex Composites.
The team has developed a way to manufacture “large, hollow rectangular composite profiles” via “pultrusion” which will be used at Wagners’ composites facility in Toowoomba, as well as at their new north Texas, US site.
Composites are an alternative to metal and timber in applications like joists for bridges and boardwalks. Benefits include being non-corroding, high-strength and light in weight.
The new process reimagines the way rectangular profiles were made, USQ said in a statement, where two square profiles were previously bonded and then sanded down (see picture on left.)
Wagners’ Michael Kemp said the new way “not only saves time, money and environmental waste but also, by optimising the joist and shape, improves flexural performance by approximately 35 per cent.
“This project demonstrates our commitment to research and development. We continue to invest in new product lines and production efficiencies to ensure the continued growth and expansion of our Composite Fibre Technologies business,” said Kemp.
Professor Peter Schubel, Executive Director of the Institute for Advanced Engineering and Space Sciences at USQ, added that “the ongoing collaboration means that we will continue to contribute to the civil composites sector, as well as other high growth areas of composite pultrusion such as telecommunications.”
Pultrusion is a technique combining pulling and extrusion, and sees fibre-reinforced profiles pulled through “a cross-section of die, resin and heating and cooling zones.” USQ experts explain it in this article from @AuManufacturing’s “Fibres and composites transforming industry” series last April.
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