Carbon fiber reinforced composite materials reveal a particularly high lightweight potential, due to their excellent weight-specific material properties and their capability to be tailored to specific applications. Thereby, thermoforming of thermoplastic tapes and the combination with thermoplastic back-injection molding, reveal great potential for large volume production of structural components, due to low cycle times, recyclability, and material efficiency. The manufacturing of composite materials, however, involves different challenges. These challenges can be met within the developments of Industry 4.0 through a continuous and functional virtual process chain, which includes a digital twin of production processes employing process simulation.
In this presentation, it is initially outlined how the manufacturability, as well as manufacturing effects of different thermoplastic process routes, can be predicted through process simulation. Subsequently, it is presented how manufacturing effects can be considered in downstream simulation steps, such as warpage or structural simulation, based on a functional virtual process chain (cf. Figure 1). This includes the presentation of novel simulation approaches for thermoforming of thermoplastic PA6-CF tape laminates in combination with back-injection molding. A focus is laid on the prediction of the interaction between the tape laminate and the LFT.