Leak-proof, flexible, cheap and light: a new industrial manufacturing technique makes it possible to produce 3D fiber composite tubes for cars, cables and suspension.

Short Description

Not an ounce too much: Weight reduction is becoming more and more important both on the road and in the air. At the same time, structural components and cables for the automotive engineering and aviation industries are subject to more exacting requirements.

They have to reduce fuel consumption, ensure safe maneuvering and reliable performance. A Tyrolean family-run business, Thöni, has been manufacturing hoses used by fire brigades and industry since 1970. Supported by the “Intelligent Production” funding initiative, the aim is to build a partly automated prototype for flexible serial production of sophisticated, fiber composite tubes for the lightweight construction industry.

In any shape or form, significantly lighter

To tackle the technological leap to efficient production of high-quality, sophisticated 3D tubes made from fiber-reinforced plastic, the traditional company enlisted the aid of competent partners. The Department of Polymer Engineering and Science with the Chair of Processing of Composites at the Montanuniversitaet Leoben bundles years of experience in exploring new applications, developing composites for specialized applications, and optimizing processes.

The second partner is superTEX composites GmbH, a spin-off founded in 2011 by the University of Innsbruck. This was the birthplace of the splineTEX® process, which has since received a number of awards been patented several times. Seamless, carbon fiber-reinforced plastic tubes - also called CFRP or carbon tubes - are produced using liquid impregnation technology. Hardened hollow profiles of any shape can be formed from a flexible, semi-finished tube for pipes, structural components and springs. And although the same size, up to 40 percent lighter than steel components.

Until now, complicated metal molds and costly finishing processes were necessary for sophisticated 3D fiber composite structures. splineTEX fiber composite tubes with optical viewing are specifically designed for structural components used in automotive engineering, for example car body components, wishbone suspensions, lightweight conduit systems a nd fiber-reinforced springs.

Project Partners

Consortium Manager

Thöni Industriebetriebe GmbH

Other Consortium Partners

  • superTEX composites GmbH
  • Montanuniversitaet Leoben, Composites Processing

Contact Address

Project Coordinator

Oliver Schennach