Fiber

Composites are reinforced materials where a matrix and a reinforcement are combined together to provide outstanding mechanical properties, often with a very lightweight structure.
The roots of Cannon Afros in composite materials have deep origin in the beginning of ‘80s. Since then several solution for different technologies and applications have been provided by Cannon Afros to the industry, automotive in particular.

Today Cannon Afros manufactures equipments to process different kinds of matrix (polyurethane, epoxy resin) and reinforcements (glass fiber, carbon fiber).
Very lightweight but stiff composite materials are produced by RTM (resin transfer moulding) technology: closed mould injection of epoxy resin over a layer of glass or carbon fiber. Cannon Afros name for RTM is ESTRIM: epoxy structural reaction injection moulding. Cannon Afros is a worldwide supplier of "turn key" solutions for ESTRIM technology.
Cannon Afros has also set up an effective and reliable solution for the co-injection of polyurethane formulations with a great variety of fillers. This ensures a thorough wetting of the solid component and a homogeneous dispersion in the mixture.
The InterWet (Internal Wetting) technology has been originally designed for the production of structural parts, reinforced with glass fibers as an alternative solution to the traditional production process based on glass mats or cut glass fiber pre-blended with polyol.
This process is characterised by high mixing efficiency and foaming performances, blend homogeneity and a significant production cost saving. Thin moulded parts, reinforced with non-reactive fibers, or filled with low cost additives, can be produced with excellent chemical, physical and mechanical properties characteristics.
The introduction on to the market of new polyurethane formulations, intended for spray application and capable of being laid down in multiple layers without creating esthetic problems on the surface of the part, has prompted Cannon Afros to develop a technology that meets those industrial application needs.

The Cannon Afros OuterWet technology make possible the production of large parts with a multilayer sandwich structure, made up of various combinations of solid PU, solid and cellular PU, solid and cellular PU and short glass fibers, in order to meet functional and aesthetic requirements for diverse product areas.
This structural sandwich is typically used for the back reinforcement of thin walled plastic parts: for example the reinforcement of bath tubs and shower trays.
On the contrary of its sister technology InterWet, in the Cannon Afros  OuterWet technology the distribution of the glass fibers inside the PU foam is carried out by spray and its relevant feeding is done outside the mixing head, close to the exit nozzle of the just-mixed liquid ingredients. In this way, the polyurethane wets the glass fibers “on air” before they hit the surface where they are deposited, sticking together perfectly. The irregular orientation of the single fibers within the polymer furthermore provides the part with optimal mechanical properties in all directions.
The most important advantages of this fully automatized solution are to eliminate the necessity of pressing and rolling the glass fibers based sandwich after its deposition, with the relevant simplifications of the production process and tools.

The growing demand for CO2 emissions reduction is pushing the OEMs at reducing cars weight. Composites are one of the most promising solutions,  permitting to combine high mechanical perfomances with low weight. Traditional technologies like Vartm or Prepreg however, are not productive enough to withstand the massive volumes typical of the automotive Industry.
Average cycle times to obtain CFRP parts in fact, can easily go beyond two hours, seriously limiting the adoption of this kind of materials wherever big numbers are in place. Thanks to the R&D efforts of both chemical companies and machineries suppliers however, a whole new way of making CFRP parts has been developed. 
Cannon, through its integrated solutions for high pressure RTM that range from injection units to presses to moulds and preformers, can achieve cycle times lower than 5 minutes for a fully cured CFRP part opening the way to the adoption of this kind of materials in the most demanding production environments.