TRB Lightweight Structures (TRB) has created a new production process to deliver continuous-fibre thermoset composite parts at high volume. By combining innovations in materials science with robotic manufacturing, TRB is making advanced composites competitive for automotive and aviation markets. This automated manufacturing process is already being used to supply a global Tier 1 powertrain manufacturer with critical battery components destined for electric buses.
Lightweight composites are a key element for the development of electric vehicles, and TRB’s mission is to support the world's successful transition to sustainable transportation. The company has used its in-house expertise and extensive experience across various transport sectors to develop cost-effective alternatives to traditional metal or expensive composite components, creating a fully-integrated manufacturing process capable of delivering parts at the volumes required for the automotive and aviation industries.
TRB’s unique manufacturing process combines proprietary snap-cure resins and in-house produced prepreg materials with state-of-the-art robotic production to generate high-spec, ready-to-ship thermoset parts in just minutes. These custom materials are fed into a fully-integrated process, automating cutting, lay up, pressing and curing to allow parts to be manufactured faster and more cost effectively, while meeting exacting quality standards.
This rapid method of manufacturing is ideally suited to the high volume production of components for EVs – as well as a wide range of other applications – and can be adapted to include additional material layers offering thermal, electrical conductivity and electromagnetic radiation protection. TRB manufactures its prepreg materials in house, putting the company in a unique position to provide modified resins and materials to meet precise application requirements.
TRB has already created a high volume production facility in the US, and is establishing the same capabilities at its UK base. Richard Holland, Managing Director of TRB, said: “While high volume composites have many applications, we have chosen to focus on the fast-expanding EV market – both on the road and in the sky – given our mission to accelerate the transition to sustainable transportation.”