Academic researchers of the Federal Cluster of Excellence MERGE EXC 1075 “MERGE Technologies for Multifunctional Lightweight Structures” and the Institute of Lightweight Structures at the Chemnitz University of Technology developed a novel technology for the fabrication of closed, endless fiber-reinforced profiles, such as structural shapes with varying forms. In comparison to the classical thermoplastic tape winding, not rotation-symmetric components can now be produced continuously with the so-called Continuous Orbital Wrapping Process (short COW). In the MERGE Technology Center located on the Campus of the Chemnitz University, feasibility and technology studies are currently conducted for the optimal setting of the production process in the pilot plant. The globally unique technology was first introduced to the public on April 27, 2017.
The project aims to investigate a process chain in which complex structural components such as load suitable structural shapes for automotive applications or parts for small wind turbine rotor blades can be manufactured in large-scale production. Despite the very special cross-sections of these components, material- and cost-efficient manufacturing is made possible due to the Chemnitz technology. Those fiber-reinforced structural shapes and pipes are especially of importance as supporting structures or components. Different kinds of fiber-reinforced tapes are currently in the trial period for the manufacturing process. The materials are investigated according to their processability into high-performance components.