Mitsubishi Electric has announced it has developed technologies for manufacturing carbon fibre reinforced plastic (CFRP) components in various shapes, as well as reducing their weight and improving their noise-reduction performance.
The company has been developing lightweight, high-strength CFRPs for space satellites, by combining technologies for composite-material design and low-cost manufacturing, the company has reduced the weight of certain metallic components by more than 50% in the case of steel and more than 30% for aluminium alloys.
Carbon fibre reinforced plastics used for space satellites are manufactured from prepregs, or carbon fibre sheets impregnated with resin under high temperature and pressure. This process incurs the costs of manufacturing prepregs and moulding equipment required to cure the prepregs. One of Mitsubishi Electric’s new technologies is a low-cost manufacturing technology based on vacuum-assisted resin-transfer molding (VaRTM).
CFRP structures can be manufactured with various processes to improve functional performance. Thermal insulators for example can be sandwiched between CFRP to simplify installation, and CFRP shapes and thicknesses can be optimised.
By continuing to develop these types of technologies, Mitsubishi expects to further strengthen its application of CFRPs in commercial products to help reduce energy consumption. The company will be applying the technologies in ultra high-speed elevators and industrial fans for delivery this year.