Research into forming sustainable composite materials
AP&T's servohydraulic press will serve as the heart of the new test facility for sustainable composite manufacturing that RISE is building in Piteå, Sweden.

AP&T's servohydraulic press is the heart of the testbed for sustainable composite manufacturing

In Piteå, Northern Sweden, the Swedish research institute RISE, is building an innovative facility for testing sustainable composite manufacturing. The testbed for sustainable composite manufacturing at RISE offers new opportunities for testing, developing and demonstrating sustainable material, technologies and manufacturing processes for the future. The heart of the test bed is a servohydraulic press from AP&T.

Set to be inaugurated in April, the testbed will give researchers and companies far more opportunities for testing, developing and demonstrating sustainable material, technologies and manufacturing processes for the future. This is meaningful, not least for the automotive industry where using more composites may contribute to lighter, more energy efficient cars that have a smaller impact on the climate.

“For transitioning to a more sustainable society, it is vital to conduct research on material and production methods that may reduce the climate and environmental impact. There is great interest in the industry in fully or partially bio-based composite materials. In the new facility, we will be able to conduct tests, not only in a laboratory environment but also on a greater scale in a realistic production environment, opening for more rapid industrialization,” says Ingrid Bergqvist, Vice President Polymers and Composites at RISE.

One of the reasons that RISE chose AP&T's servohydraulic press is that it is a fully developed commercial solution that is already used in many customer manufacturing facilities. But that's not the only reason.

“First of all, the servohydraulic press offers great flexibility, an important aspect when testing many different materials and applications. The sustainability aspect, particularly its low energy consumption, also weighed heavily in the procurement. We make great sustainability demands on our suppliers and AP&T has an excellent sustainability mindset in all areas. The fact that the press comes equipped with the possibility of being controlled from a digital twin is also important. It basically means that the equipment can be run regardless of the physical location of the user,” Bergqvist continues.

For AP&T's part, the RISE order is yet another confirmation that the company is developing technology solutions that have a place in the future.

“The characteristics that make our servohydraulic press stand out from conventional technology really come into their own here. The ability to vary, control and monitor the entire forming process, with a high degree of precision (even remotely) is exactly what researchers and the industry are seeking. And as the issue of sustainability is increasingly gaining momentum, the press’ low energy consumption and other environmental benefits become an ever-important selling point,” says Mikael Karlsson, Manager of Development of Press Products at AP&T.

The collaboration itself, in which practically the entire test facility was built virtually, has been rewarding for both parties.

“Our constant knowledge exchange has propelled us forward. Not least, we have learned a lot about composite materials, which may be a path to new customer collaborations in the future. And once the press is in place, we will continue to have access to it for further development and demonstrations. We are now in a phase of polishing and verifying functionality in anticipation of final approval in December. In March, it's installation time. We can't wait,” says Dr. Christian Koroschetz, CTO at AP&T.

November 2020

AP&T's Mikael Karlsson, Manager of Development of Press Products and Dr. Christian Koroschetz, CTO stand together with Pernilla Walkenström, Senior Vice President Materials and Production at RISE , and Ingrid Bergqvist, Vice President Polymers and Composites at RISE.

AP&T servohydraulic press facts

Technology and functionality: Servo motors in place of control valves; closed-loop control system; energy recovery at retardation, kinetic energy storage; active parallelism; synchronization with automation equipment.

Advantages: Robust process, high precision and repeatability; parallel movement of the uppermost part of the tool, even when unevenly distributed; quick acceleration and retardation – short cycle times and high production capacity; 40–70% lower energy consumption per manufactured product.

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