17 Jun 2009   |   News

Twente sets up composites research centre with industrial partners

The University of Twente has teamed up with Boeing, TenCate Advanced Composites, and Stork Fokker to establish a new centre.


Boeing, TenCate Advanced Composites BV, Stork Fokker and the University of Twente have agreed to establish the Thermoplastic Composites Research Centre (TPRC) at the university.

Thermoplastic composites offer cost-efficient fabrication and assembly processes and have environmental advantages over their thermoset counterparts. As a result these materials are expected to play a role in the development of sustainable and cost-effective methods of production.

The consortium aims to collaborate with different parties within the supply chain on thermoplastic composites. The research centre will focus on developing thermoplastic composite technologies for a broad range of markets including wind energy, oil and gas, aerospace, automotive, medical, machinery, infrastructure, sports and marine.

A key factor leading to the formation of the TPRC consortium is the growing use of thermoplastics in the aerospace industry, as customers increasingly demand products that are lighter, more cost efficient and environmentally progressive.

The centre will enable researchers and developers from all parties to work closely together in an open innovation model. It also will enable all parties to share research equipment. New members will be encouraged to join the consortium.

The spur to form TPRC came last year, when Boeing, TenCate, Stork Fokker and the university began collaborating on two joint research projects.

“This collaboration will enable us to leverage our investment in advanced composites technology and increase our supplier base in the Netherlands in the area of thermoplastic composites,” said Jan Närlinge of Boeing. “The TPRC will provide our customers with access to an accelerated development and use of thermoplastic materials and processing technologies, world-class suppliers and aircraft components at reduced cost, cycle time and weight.”

Loek de Vries, CEO and President of Royal Ten Cate, said TPRC is a great opportunity for the company to develop next generation thermoplastic composite applications. “Cooperation with the entire value chain and knowledge institutes enables us to combine material development, processing technologies and design engineering concurrently. In the short term, we foresee a further increase in the demand for thermoplastic composite materials. TPRC is a great platform to expand the scope of applications within the aerospace industry, but will also be of interest for many industrial markets.”


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