Intelligent self-heated tooling slashes costs, opens the door to OEM supply
JEC world will see the debut of Ex-Core 2.0, featuring intelligent, self-heated tooling to produce stronger, lighter carbon-fibre parts at up to half the cost of conventional pre-preg sandwich processes.
Ex-Core Technologies was conceived to supply its parent company, Donkervoort Automobielen, with high-strength, flexible-design, carbon-fibre parts, but huge external interest from 2020 convinced Ex-Core to open up to other customers, and even other carmakers.
The wider range of customer demands lead Ex-Core to develop the “Ex-Core 2.0” program, complete with intelligent, internally-heated metal tooling for stronger carbon-fibre parts in a more durable, more accurate aluminium tool.
An Ex-Core case study, commissioned after an aero customer’s inquiry, showed the new self-heating tooling slashed production costs by between 30 and 50 percent over conventional pre-preg sandwich systems.
And the Ex-Core 2.0 process is managed by set-and-forget proprietary software that heats different tooling segments to different temperatures to optimize the heat transfer to the composite part.
Removable heating cartridges, with integrated monitoring sensors, internally heat the Ex-Core 2.0 tooling, while the sensors allow the Ex-Core 2.0 software to perfectly control the expansion of the foam as it pressures the carbon-fibre layers against the mould.
“Because every customer required their own special technical specifications, shapes or even the finish of the product, we decided it was time to look at a next step in the development of the Ex-Core technology,” Ex-Core Managing Director Denis Donkervoort said.
“The Ex-Core 2.0 developments have been aimed at strengthening and tailoring the end products while making the Ex-Core system even cheaper, simpler and more convenient for customers in everyday use,” he said.
Ex-Core 2.0 delivers greater production flexibility, longer-life tooling and even more design freedom, capable of zero-radius corners. It also retains Ex-Core’s advantages in sustainability thanks to a reduction in waste materials and trimming.
Ex-Core now offers its customers a five-step service to go from zero to producing Ex-Core parts themselves.
Engineering > Prototype production > Non-recurring investment in mixing machine and tooling > Training > SOP.
This licensing-based business model means the customer only pays one up-front investment for the tooling and the mixing machine, then a price-per-litre for the Ex-Core materials. This makes the running costs both transparent and manageable.
For further details of the Ex-Core advantages, pricing, or any other requirements, visit the Ex-Core stand at JEC World or watch the Ex-Core video presentation.
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