Table of Contents
Smart Materials Research
Volume 2013 (2013), Article ID 201631, 13 pages
Research Article

Process Chain Modelling and Analysis for the High-Volume Production of Thermoplastic Composites with Embedded Piezoceramic Modules

Technische Universität Dresden, Institute of Lightweight Engineering and Polymer Technology (ILK), Holbeinstraße 3, 01307 Dresden, Germany

Received 5 October 2012; Revised 14 January 2013; Accepted 25 February 2013

Academic Editor: Marcelo J. Dapino

Copyright © 2013 W. Hufenbach et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Active composite structures based on thermoplastic matrix systems are highly suited to applications in lightweight structures ready for series production. The integration of additional functional components such as material-embedded piezoceramic actuators and sensors and an electronic network facilitates the targeted control and manipulation of structural behaviour. The current delay in the widespread application of such adaptive structures is primarily attributable to a lack of appropriate manufacturing technologies. It is against this backdrop that this paper contributes to the development of a novel manufacturing process chain characterized by robustness and efficiency and based on hot-pressing techniques tailored to specific materials and actuators. Special consideration is given to detailed process chain modelling and analysis focusing on interactions between technical and technological aspects. The development of a continuous process chain by means of the analysis of parameter influences is described. In conclusion, the use of parameter manipulation to successfully realize a unique manufacturing line designed for the high-volume production of adaptive thermoplastic composite structures is demonstrated.