Development of the CRFP Rapid Heating Device "HD Thermo II/CP" - Significant Reduction of CFRP heating time -
October 09, 2018
Chubu Electric Power Co.,Inc.
Yutaka Electronics Industry Co.,Ltd.
The Chubu Electric Company (Headquarters: Higashi-ku, Nagoya City; President & Director: Satoru Katsuno) and Yutaka Electronics Industry Co., Ltd. (Headquarters: Kariya-shi, Aichi Prefecture; President: Takafumi Morita) together with the cooperation of Toshiba Machine Co., Ltd. (Headquarters: Numazu-shi, Shizuoka Prefecture; President: Takahiro Mikami), have jointly developed a rapid heating device "HD Thermo II/CP" (hereafter "the newly developed device") which significantly cuts down on the heating time of industrial-use carbon fiber reinforced plastic (hereafter "CFRP (note)").
(Note) Carbon Fiber Reinforced Plastic: Material 2.5 times the strength and 0.25 times the weight of steel.
A light weight and high strength material, CFRP is expected to be widely adopted for use in automobiles, in the frame and in other components. However, production capability was limited as it took conventional processing devices (far-infrared type heating devices) five to ten minutes to press CFRP into a sheet (thickness of 2 to 5 mm). Reducing this heating time was a prominent challenge in improving CFRP productivity.
The new rapid heating device combines superheated steam and an electric heater to heat CFRP quickly. The superheated steam that bursts out at approximately 400 degrees Celsius is further warmed by electric heater that heats up to approximately 500 degrees Celsius. This is blasted on to the CFRP, while heat is being also directly applied via the electric heater. The sheer amount of heat applied to the CFRP using this device significantly reduces heating time compared to conventional devices.
The superheated steam uniformly heats the CFRP sheet and the inside of the device achieves an almost oxygen-free state, eliminating quality and safety challenges including unevenness in temperature and potential burning of the CFRP.
It is also highly energy efficient as the fan inside the device circulates the superheated steam blasted on to the CFRP, which is then reheated with the electric heater and reused in heating the CFRP.
Sales of this product will start on October 15 from Yutaka Electronics Industry Co., Ltd.
[Characteristics of the HD Thermo II/CP]
1 Significant reduction in heating time
Heating the CFRP (thickness 2 - 5mm) to 300 degrees Celsius used to take 5 to 10 minutes using the far-infrared heating device, but with the new HD Thermo II/CP, the combined use of superheated steam and the electric heater reduces the heating time to 30 to 90 seconds.
When heating random materials (note), a type of CFRP considered to become mainstream for automobile use, the superheated steam penetrates the material, speeding up the heating process and allowing for a much shorter heating time.
(note) A type of low cost CFRP with carbon fiber diced to tens of mm molded into plastic
2 Consistency in quality/safety
The superheated steam heats the CFRP uniformly, and keeps variations in temperature within 30 degrees Celsius.
The device will not cause CFRP to burn as the internal chamber of the device is kept in an almost oxygen-free state.
3 High energy efficiency
The newly developed product reduces energy wastage by repurposing the superheated steam that has been blasted on to the CFRP.
AC200V Three phase
During heating operation 35kW/At startup 60kW
Width 1650mm×Length 3050mm×Height 2250mm
Reference price (tax/construction costs excluded)
24 million yen (note)
(Note) For a 300 by 300mm CFRP sheet. Also dependent on the material and dimensions of the CFRP, additional options, and other required properties.