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DLR invests in spin-off company COPRO Technology; automated roll forming technology for fiber composite preforms

The German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR) has granted COPRO Technology GmbH the licence for a new, cost-effective and manufacturing technology for CFRP preforms. DLR has in return acquired a corporate shareholding in the firm, which was founded in October 2016.

Lightweight structures are on the rise both in aircraft and automotive manufacturing. So far, it has only been possible to mass-produce these components at great cost. Future economical fiber composite manufacturing is based on automated production systems with smart process control and direct quality monitoring during the production process.

Highly stressed lightweight structures, such as an aircraft fuselage or car roof, largely consist of profiles. Manufacturing these profiles from lightweight materials, such as fiber composites, is a challenge due to their complex curvatures. Until now, it has only been possible to automatically produce profile components made of these materials using expensive winding, weaving and pressing processes.

Even complex, three-dimensional profile geometries can be efficiently and cost-effectively manufactured using the COPRO-Technology. The COPRO-Technology patented at DLR uses rotating pairs of rollers. Semi-finished textiles are continuously formed into preform profiles by rollers rotating with variable speeds.

—Martin Wiedemann, Director of the DLR Institute of Composite Structures and Adaptive Systems

COPRO_2

This technology development was financially supported by, among others, the Helmholtz Validation Fund, which has bridged the gap between scientific findings and companies’ demands for economically viable research results. Helmholtz Enterprise also supported the establishment of the new company. DLR Technology Marketing was involved in the development of the technology and business model and co-funded the initiative. DLR’s corporate shareholding will help the new company to find investors, customers and cooperation partners, thereby promoting successful technology transfer. Collaboration between research and industrial applications will be further consolidated and the production of CFRP-hybrid profiles encouraged.

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