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Assessment of economic and technical advantages of 3 dimensional preform transfer moulding


Objectives and content

Both suppliers and end-users of composites need to reduce costs and/or improve performance in order to remain competitive worldwide. 3D-PTM offers, in principle, a route to reductions in manufacturing, QC, maintenance and in-service costs, as well as technical and ecological advantages compared with standard processes. However, available preforms and binder resins have not been optimised and the matrix systems have limitations. This project will address these problems so that some of the following industrial objectives may be achieved:

- 30% reduction in manufacturing and QC costs for aircraft composite parts (with up to 10% weight increase), compared to the use of prepreg. For trains, 30% lower manufacturing costs for big parts are sought.
- 30-50% weight saving compared to metal for aircraft and railroad stock, with up to 15% increase in costs if necessary.
- Improved damage resistance from the 3-D reinforcement (e.g. 30% increase in compression-after-impact), giving maintenance/inspection cost reductions. 3-D preforms will give major technical advantages through access to complex shapes for aero-engines which are otherwise not possible.
- Development of the composites market using alternatives to prepreg, i.e. preforms, binder resins and matrix systems.

Initially, the relevant expertise of the Partners will be pooled in order to establish the main development lines for the project. The technical programme is divided into complementary and overlapping activities in which the different Partners specialise. Each activity has one Partner as co-ordinator. Briefly, these activities are:

- Selection and design of generic parts
- Characterisation and development of materials
- Process development
- Mechanical characterisation
- Materials selection for final design of representative part - Manufacture of demonstration parts (tool design and manufacture and control, preform and resin scale-up, manufacture and evaluation of parts).
On-going economic and ecological assessments will be carried out so that finally a comparison between these aspects and the technical performance of similar parts made by standard manufacturing techniques can be made.

Call for proposal

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EU contribution
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Wilton Centre, Middlesbrough
United Kingdom

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Participants (11)