Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

FP7

INGECT Report Summary

Project ID: 286520
Funded under: FP7-SME
Country: United Kingdom

Final Report Summary - INGECT (An innovative environmentally friendly gelcoating technology for composites for marine and wind-Turbine applications to reduce VOC emissions, processing time and cost.)

Executive Summary:
InGeCt is a €1.4M project funded by the Framework Programme 7 (FP7) initiative to encourage Research for Small and Medium sized Enterprises (SME). The main aim is to develop an innovative environmentally friendly gel-coating technology for composites for marine and wind-turbine applications to reduce VOC emissions, processing time and cost.

Gel coats are applied to fibre-reinforced composite materials for aesthetic or protection purposes. Styrene is an essential part of these gel-coats, with ~25% of this released during possessing. These styrene emissions cause irritation and neurological effects as well as possibly being carcinogen. One of the biggest negative effects of styrene is the perceived odour both by the workforce and neighbourhoods. As a result styrene emissions are limited under the Solvent Emissions Directive. Although the adoption of closed mould technologies for the production of composite parts have gone a long way to reducing styrene emissions during manufacture, gel-coating must still be undertaken under open-mould conditions as no viable in-mould gel-coating technology is commercially available. We are developing an innovative in-mould gel-coating process, requiring minimal equipment modification (and therefore low capital expenditure) based on the innovative application of low-viscocity gel-coats and a spacer fabric. The proof-of-concept work undertaken to date shows that this technology has the potential to achieve significant benefits beyond the current state of the art to produce parts that are fit for purpose whilst reducing styrene emissions to <5ppm.

The overall aim of the InGeCt project is to develop technical textiles and gel-coat formulations in combination with process design and optimisation that will enable significant reductions in VOC emissions whilst reducing production times by 18.5% and manufacturing cost by 10.5%. Our technology will therefore be very attractive to composites processors, giving significant economic and societal benefits to consumers and manufacturers. The SME consortium target a significant penetration of the EU market within a 5 year period, achieving direct annual sales of over 100 million. The technology will make a significant contribution to reducing VOC emissions, enabling EU SMEs to meet their immediate and forthcoming legislative requirements.

This report summarises the work undertaken during the FP7-SME-2011-1-286520 project and concludes with a summary of potential future research projects that might enhance the commercialisation of the in-mould gel-coating processes.

Project Context and Objectives:
An innovative environmentally friendly gelcoating technology for composites for marine and wind-turbine applications to reduce VOC emissions, processing time and cost

This research is funded by the European Union's Seventh Framework Programme managed by REA-Research Executive Agency ([FP7/2007-2013] [FP7/2007-2011]) under grant agreement number FP7-SME-2011-1-286520.

Summary
InGeCt is a €1.4M project funded by the Framework Programme 7 (FP7) initiative to encourage Research for Small and Medium sized Enterprises (SME). The main aim is to develop an innovative environmentally friendly gelcoating technology for composites for marine and wind-turbine applications to reduce VOC emissions, processing time and cost.

Context
Gel coats are applied to fibre-reinforced composite materials for aesthetic or protection purposes. Styrene is an essential part of these gelcoats, with ~25% of this released during possessing. These styrene emissions cause irritation and neurological effects as well as possibly being carcinogen. A further negative effect of styrene is the perceived odour both by the workforce and neighbourhoods. As a result styrene emissions are limited under the Solvent Emissions Directive. Recent recommendations by the Styrene Producers Association call for a reduction in most EU Member States to current Scandinavian levels (20 parts per million (PPM)).

Although the adoption of closed mould technologies for the production of composite parts has gone a long way to reducing styrene emissions during manufacture, gelcoating must still be undertaken under open-mould conditions as no viable in-mould gelcoating technology is commercially available except for quasi-flat panels.

We are developing an innovative in-mould gel-coating process, requiring minimal equipment modification (and therefore low capital expenditure) based on the innovative application of low-viscocity gelcoats and a spacer fabric. The proof-of-concept work undertaken to date has this technology has the potential to achieve significant benefits beyond the current state of the art to produce parts that are fit for purpose whilst reducing styrene emissions to <5ppm.

Aims
The overall aim of the InGeCt project is to develop technical textiles and gel-coat formulations in combination with process design and optimisation that will enable significant reductions in VOC emissions whilst reducing production times by ~20% and manufacturing cost by ~10%. Our technology will therefore be very attractive to composites processors, giving significant economic and societal benefits to consumers and manufacturers.

The SME consortium targets a significant level of penetration of the EU market within a 5 year period, achieving direct annual sales of over €100 million. The technology will make a significant contribution to reducing VOC emissions, enabling EU SMEs to meet their immediate and forthcoming legislative requirements.

1. To set the initial system for the case-study components. (M1)
2. To create optimal low-VOC gelcoat formulations for in-mould gel–coating that have a viscosity <200 centpoise. (M12)
3. To fully characterise the low-VOC gelcoats in terms of their flow properties and structural and mechanical properties after application. (M12)
4. To create a conformable tri-layer spacer fabric (fibre mat – impermeable film – fibre mat) for in-mould gel–coating applications that can achieve resistance to compression, resulting in a flow path for the gel coat 0.5±0.05 mm.(M12)
5. To fully characterise the tri-layer spacer fabric in terms of the mechanical and structural properties and suitability for the InGeCt technology. (M12)
6. To design and manufacture a prototype tool for manufacture of test parts using the InGeCt technology that can achieve infusion of the base resin and gel coat layers. (M16)
7. To fully characterise the prototype test parts produced using the InGeCt prototype tool that can achieve a Class-A surface finish with no fibre print-through, a gelcoat thickness of 0.5±0.05 mm and gelcoat adhesion of >8MPa (M23)
8. To produce and validate a pre-production prototype in-mould gelcoating system for marine and construction/cladding components applications (M23)
9. To demonstrate that the InGeCt in-mould gelcoating technology has enhanced Life Cycle and cost performance in comparison to existing technologies. (M24)

Project Results:
Expected Final Results
The specific final results expected of the project were:
# Low-viscosity gel coat formulations
# Spacer fabric designs and materials
# InGeCt tool and process design (validated for marine and construction/cladding components)

These results were to be produced from the activities of the RTD partners acting as research providers to the SME consortium. The SMEs were expected to absorb and validate these results and ensure that the IPR generated was protected and exploited for commercial purposes.

Progress to Date
As outlined in the deliverable reports, and evidenced in the consolidated minutes of project meetings (submitted with the Final Report), despite making significant advances in all areas of technology development, both the In Mould Gel Coating (IMGC) and In Mould Surfacing (IMS) technologies require further refinement and optimisation in order to be considered commercially viable.

Key Highlights
The project has considered both the separator layer technology proposed in the original Description of Work (In-Mould Gel Coating/IMGC technology) and a silicone shim inserted in the mould tool to define the volume to be filled by gel coat (In-Mould Surfacing/IMS). The composites manufacturing processes addressed are Resin Transfer Moulding (RTM) and Resin Infusion under Flexible Tooling (RIFT). Both flat plates (RTM) and a complex double tetrahedron mould tool (RIFT) were used.

The two technologies are recorded in patent applications:
# IMGC: GB2432336 (A) - Production of composite mouldings
# IMS: Patent WO2013/132211A1, Production of composite mouldings

The success of the respective techniques is judged against three parameters:
# Reduction of styrene levels
# Quality of surface finish
# Pull-off adhesion strength

Potential Impact:
Potential Impact
The successful development of this technology is expected to remove the need for expensive ventilation for composites processors who already operate close-mould technologies such as Resin Transfer and Resin Infusion. This will lead to significant economic and societal benefits to processors and end-users. The SME consortium target a significant penetration of the EU market within a 5 year period, achieving direct annual sales of up to €74 million, ~115 new jobs and annual VOC/CO2 emissions savings of up to 20,000 t p.a. The project results are expected to benefit other SMEs in the composites processing, marine, construction and wind energy sectors.

Dissemination Activities:

Partners’ web pages:
• In-mould surfacing ~ IMS breakthrough, Facebook, Twitter, 15 November 2013.
• 60cm square part with interesting geometry, Facebook, Twitter, 15 November 2013.
• Close up of injected gel coat, Facebook, Twitter, 15 November 2013.
• In mould surfacing/gel coating, Facebook, 24 June 2012.
• In-mould gel-coating – a radical new approach !!, AHC, 18 June 2012.
• In-mould gel-coating – a radical new approach !!, Facebook,17 June 2012.
• Grants and contracts, JS personal professional page research tab, undated
• Machining, bonding and repair, JS teaching PowerPoint, undated.
• LinkedIn profile, John Summerscales, undated.
• LinkedIn profile, Rupert Lorraine, undated.
• LinkedIn profile, Zoltán Gombos, undated.
• LinkedIn profile, Marta Llorens Pérez, undated.
• LinkedIn profile, Cristina Di Tomasso, undated.

Publications already in the public domain
• John Summmerscales, In-Mould Gel-Coating for RTM and RIFT, 11th International Conference on Flow Processing in Composite Materials, Auckland NZ, 9 - 12 July 2012. Online.
• Zoltán Gombos and John Summerscales, In-Mould Gel-Coating for Polymer Composites, 9th International Conference on Composite Science and Technology: 2020 - Scientific and Technical Challenges, Sorrento – Italy, 24-26 April 2013, abstracts book, p.980. Online.

Publication planned for the future
• William Rogers, Christopher Hoppins, Zoltan Gombos and John Summerscales, In-mould gel-coating of polymer composites – a review, to be submitted to Journal of Cleaner Production.
• Zoltán Gombos and John Summerscales, In-mould gel-coating with a separator layer, submitted for 11th International Conference on Flow Processing in Composite Materials, Enschede NL, 14-16 July 2014.
• Alan Harper, Zoltán Gombos and John Summerscales, In-mould surfacing with a silicone membrane, submitted for 11th International Conference on Flow Processing in Composite Materials, Enschede NL, 14-16 July 2014.

Potential target conferences

• 11-13 March 2014 ~ Paris – France Les Journées Européennes des Composites (JEC)
• 23-27 June 2014 ~ Noordwijk – Netherlands 10th Coatings Science International.
• 14-16 July 2014 ~ Enschede – Netherlands 12th International Conference on Flow Processes in Composite Materials (FPCM-12)
Two abstracts submitted for consideration.
• 18-19 September 2014 ~ Bristol – England International Conference on Manufacturing of Advanced Composites (ICMAC)
Call for abstracts not yet issued.

Intellectual property
• AR Harper, J Summerscales and N Brooks, British Patent Application GB2 432336A: Production of composite mouldings, published 23 May 2007. Application: GB20060023010 dated 20 November 2006 lodged 19 November 2005.
• AR Harper, Production of composite mouldings, World Intellectual Property Organization international application WO2013/132211A1, 12 September 2013.

List of Websites:
Project website: www.ingect.eu
CORDIS webpage: http://cordis.europa.eu/result/report/rcn/57278_en.html
Enquiries: Dr John Summerscales (jsummerscales@plymouth.ac.uk / +44 1752 586 150)

Related information

Contact

John Summerscales, (Professor)
Tel.: +441752586150
E-mail
Record Number: 186787 / Last updated on: 2016-07-12