Alternative automotive brackets, produced in metal (left) and CFRP (right) using the 9T Labs Additive Fusion Technology.

Forger to Form CFRP Parts Using AM

July 14, 2020
Steel forger Setforge is adopting 9T Labs' additive fusion technology in an effort to establish series production of carbon fiber-reinforced polymer parts for automotive, aerospace and industrial uses.

Setforge, a French producer of forged steel and stainless steel parts for oil-and-gas and off-highway vehicle markets, is working with a Swiss firm to establish series production of CFRP components, for automotive, aerospace and industrial uses. The forger will adopt the 9T Labs' Red Series Additive Fusion Technology (AFT) system to set up high-volume production of carbon fiber-reinforced polymer (CFRP) parts, with 60% fiber volume and <1% void content.

AFT is 9T Labs' proprietary package for additive manufacturing components in carbon-fiber material, producing lightweight structural parts with "true 3D-fiber orientation". The Red Series subscription includes hardware, Fibrify program software, and application engineering.

With its partners Institut de Soudure and the research institute Arts et Métiers, Setforge is developing a new process called "Epither" to produce structural composite parts using the AFT system.

“Lightweight and sustainability are becoming more and more important,” according Damien Felix of Setforge, who is heading the Epither program. “As an innovative company, we need to explore new technologies for the future of digital series production. With 9T Labs’ cost-competitive approach, we can reduce part weight and production costs.”

Felix noted that the Fibrify suite uses integrated FEA tools that help define customized fiber designs, optimized per load case, avoiding less-efficient black metal designs and allowing parts to be structurally validated before printing, reducing iterations and simplifying product development.

“The Red Series subscription provides us with flexibility in process simulation and digital prototyping, as well as the potential to extend our patented process to high series production of carbon composites,” Felix said.

He predicted that Red Series additive manufacturing and post-consolidation technology and the support of 9T Labs would allow Setforge to substitute CFRP for metal and scale production of structural composites to thousands of pieces, cost-competitively.