Innovative production of composites: from rebar to electric bus modules
Currently, NCC has a production area of 15 thousand sq.m, where more than 40 technological machines and lines are operated. The enterprise has modern laboratories with 60 units of measuring equipment. In total, about 25 million euros were invested in the equipment. NCC employs more than 200 specialists who solve a wide range of problems in the development and manufacturing of products made of composite materials.
The competencies of the NCC includes the development of a concept, R&D, experimental and technological work, the manufacture of machining attachments, pilot production, laboratory and certification tests (functional, climatic, mechanical, temperature and special) and industrial production.
For example, an important area is the manufacture of products made of fiberglass and CFRP using vacuum infusion technology (spraying, contact forming, RTM, etc.). The cheapness of technological equipment and good mechanical properties of materials make it possible to obtain high-quality, inexpensive and durable products even in the manufacture of single batches. In particular, NCC successfully implemented several dozens of projects for the production of various types of caps, casings, fairings, spoilers, bumpers, panels, wings by the method of vacuum infusion.
The center has injection molding equipment, which provides a clamping force of up to 1150 tonnes and a maximum injection mass of up to 3 kg. It is possible to produce complex parts using two materials. Products have a perfectly flat surface without shells and foreign inclusions at 5–12 grade accuracy of geometric dimensions. The production capacity of the injection molding section reaches 50 thousand items per day.
Using the method of thermo-vacuum forming of plastics, the NCC produces the elements of the casings for production equipment, medical and household appliances, as well as details of the interior and exterior of the cabins (panels, lining, covers, covers) and much more.
When developing new products of polymer composite materials (PCM), the consolidation, analysis and coordination of requirements, selection of materials, selection or development of manufacturing technology, carrying out laboratory and acceptance tests are carried out.
One of the important activities of the NCC as a participant in the network of nanotechnology centers is the launching of startups in the area of PCM technologies.
PROJECTS AND PRODUCTS
The assets of NCC include more than 100 completed projects, 20 product patents and about 30 commercially successful product types. The Nanocenter successfully performs R&Ds for implementation of PCM in the projects of the largest companies, including Rosatom, RZD, Gazprom and RusHydro. About 30% of the products are exported to other countries.
The center's own products are the Carbon Wrap system based on carbon fiber for reinforcing concrete structures, the Monsterprofile fiberglass profiles, Monsterprofile fence rails, composite drainage channels, Monsterod fittings, temporary road slabs, composite products for road infrastructure improvement (paving slabs, delineators, ramp, support of the road sign stand), fiber for reinforcement of concrete and asphalt concrete, supports of the contact network, composite supports of overhead power lines.
Composite products provide users with numerous advantages. Composite products provide users with numerous advantages. For example, the use of the Carbon Wrap to reinforce concrete structures allows repair without stopping production or traffic, reducing repair costs, increasing the overhaul period, making it possible to correct design and construction errors without weighting the original structure.
Fiberglass Monsterprofile is characterized by low weight, corrosion resistance and durability. Different color solutions and different profiles are available.
Composite drainage channels are used in industrial and civil construction. NCC develops and manufactures drainage channels for any size and load. The use of PCM allows to reduce the time of installation of channels, to increase the period of their operation and to exclude expenses for maintenance.
NCC produces three types of rebar: glass-composite, basalt-composite and carbon-composite. Composite rebar has high strength, low weight, is not susceptible to corrosion, resistant to acids and sea water, radio transparent, magnetically inert and durable in concrete environment.
Slabs for the construction of temporary roads allow rapid construction in difficult-to-reach areas of roads that are suitable for the movement and operation of heavy equipment and do not require maintenance. The use of composite slabs makes it possible to exclude the costs of preparing the base of the road, reduce the time of its installation by three times, and the labor costs by eleven times. Composite slabs have been successfully tested and used in the oil and gas sector and in construction.
For the improvement of road and urban infrastructure facilities, paving slabs, delineators, ramps, pillars of road signs are manufactured. These types of composite products are easy to install, safe, resistant to shock loads and not prone to frost.
Tactile floor indicators produced by the NCC are bright yellow tiles with various patterns, designed to facilitate the orientation of persons with poor eyesight and limited physical abilities. Tactile indicators are characterized by high wear resistance, resistance to road reagents, resistance to temperature changes, low weight and thickness, and color stability (colored in mass).
Another type of products for the construction industry is fiber for the reinforcement of concrete and asphalt concrete. Fiber has a high adhesion to the cement matrix, is not susceptible to corrosion, provides increased frost and crack resistance, and also prevents the unmixing of the concrete.
Composite supports for maintaining the conductors of the contact network at a certain height and in the desired position relative to the road make it possible to avoid using insulators due to the dielectric properties of fiberglass. Reducing the weight of the supports simplifies installation, and the corrosion resistance of the composite increases their durability.
Also, the NCC produces supports for overhead power lines. The use of composite materials significantly reduces the weight of structures, which leads to a reduction in the cost of construction and installation works and transportation, and also increases the service life of supports and reduces operating costs.
UNIQUE ELECTRIC BUS
In 2016, the NCC was awarded the Innovation Awards in the Urban Transportation category at the international exhibition JEC World 2016 in Paris for a unique solution in the creation of a self-supporting composite body for the MODULO C68E electric bus.
Serial production of electric buses is organized by NCC together with the Hungarian holding company Evopro Group. The use of PCM provides for reducing the weight of the bus by several tons and reducing its size by 2–3 meters. The latter increases the maneuverability of the electric bus, allowing it to travel on routes that are inaccessible to vehicles with a large turning radius. Reducing the weight of the body not only improves the economy and reduces the cost of the electric bus, but also reduces the load on the suspension and road surface. At the same time, due to the efficient design, MODULO accommodates more passengers compared to buses of the same length.
The production range of the joint venture of NCC and Evopro Group includes models with a capacity of 40 to 90 passengers with a body length from 6.5 to 9.5 meters, which can be equipped with various engines. In particular, the MODULO buses are equipped with 160 kW electric motors and a SIEMENS control system.
There are various options for integrating electric public transport into urban infrastructure. For example, electric buses with a 4 hours night charge and a cruising range of more than 200 km, machines with charging from a trolleybus contact network, and also charging with a pantograph were developed. The use of such solutions reduces the amount of investment in the reorganization of the infrastructure of the urban transport network.
According to Evopro Holding, since 2016 several dozen MODULO buses have been used in the city transport of Budapest, showing one of the lowest energy consumption in the world.
In Moscow the model MODULO C68E of medium capacity was successfully tested, which for a week passed through the streets of the city more than a thousand kilometers. Tests showed that to ensure the whole day of work of the electric bus, one night charge of three hours duration is sufficient. By the end of this year, approval and organization of winter tests of Modulo C88 model is expected, which at a length of 9.5 meters accommodates the same number of passengers as 12-meter competitors' models.
According to experts of the NCC, the level of localization of production of electric buses in Russia in the future can be increased to 75–80%. The introduction of electric buses will significantly reduce the cost of running the urban passenger transport network and will have a beneficial effect on the ecological situation in the cities. ■