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Monday, April 13, 2015

Long-fiber-reinforced thermoplastic (LFRTs) is a type of easily mouldable thermoplastic used to create a variety of components used primarily in the automotive industry. LFRTs are one of the fastest growing categories in thermoplastic technologies. Long Fiber Reinforced Thermoplastics (LFT) have excellent mechanical properties and stiffness-to-weight ratio which is of great interest to the automotive industry. These in-line compounding processes for long fiber material offer users more flexibility, as they are able to both compound and process such materials in accordance with their own formulation and also use readymade compounds. 

End-uses require greater performance than is attainable with short fiber thermoplastic products and where metal is not a desirable option due to weight or per part costs. LFT composites have gained rapid acceptance as a viable alternative to die castings, metal assemblies, and traditional plastic materials in a vast array of markets, including: industrial equipment, automotive, consumer goods, sports and leisure, and information technology. 


      Markedly higher mechanical properties

      High notched impact strength

      Reduced creep

      Good stability over broad range of temperature and climatic conditions


Because of the large investments that go with the purchase of the required extruder and press for the processing of LFT’s, their application has mainly be limited to the automotive sector. It’s evident that in this way the many opportunities that lie outside the automotive sector are not being utilised.


Long  Fibre  Reinforced  Thermoplastics   technology  has  evolved  from  Glass  Mat  Thermoplastic  sheets  GMT),  a  technology  which  impregnates  glass  fibre  mats  with  thermoplastic resins, to Long Fibre Pre Compounded Pellets (LFT pellets).  A thermoplastic resin (often polypropylene) is fed into the twin screw compounding  equipment, where it gets melted by shear and heat.  A  continuous  glass  fibre  rovings  is  fed  through  holes  in  a  special  barrel  section  located downstream where the polymer is already in molten state  Special  elements  separate  the  individual  filaments  of  the  glass  fibre  rovings  and  mixing  elements  disperse  the  fibres  homogeneously  in  the  compound,  in  order  to  produce a composite material with uniform properties.  The  homogenized  compound  is  either  extruded  through a  die  to  make  a  "log"  of  material or flows into an accumulator to be injected into a mould.  Parts are moulded either by compression moulding or by injection moulding .


Global consumption in the long fiber thermoplastics (LFT) market is forecast to reach over 313400 tons by the year 2017, encouraged primarily by myriad applications in the automotive industry. Revival of the auto industry after a recession-induced hiatus has been instrumental in driving growth in the LFT composites market, particularly in the manufacture of reinforced structural and semi-structural automobile parts. Market growth is also driven by huge demand from polypropylene, which remains the most dominant resin category for LFTs. While developed Western countries continue to dominate in terms of sheer size, Asia-Pacific, led by China displays immense potential for rapid future growth.

Source: NPCS Team

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