Tooling system provider ALPEX formally enters China's market
Alpex, a leading global manufacturer of tooling systems for producing aerospace and automotive composite components, recently has officially entered China market. It will provide professional composite tooling services to nearby customers in Asia by setting up a factory in Changshu city, Jiangsu Province. The establishment of the plant also indicates that Alpex's professional services of composite tooling has officially covered the 3 most active areas of composite industry, which are Europe, North America and Northeast Asia.
Professional service with outstanding expertise. Alpex has been dedicated to engineering and manufacturing of composite tooling in Mils, Austria since its foundation in 1995, and keeps being a global industry leader over the past 24 years. With innovative tooling systems, Alpex has been boosting the mass production of CFRP lightweight components for the automotive industry worldwide, providing tooling solutions for BMW, Audi, Lamborghini and other well-known OEMs whilst being a long-term composite tooling partner of aircraft manufacturers such as Airbus and Boeing. Alpex has diversified services but not limited to project feasibility analysis, engineering, tooling (including tooling in specific material), fixture and prototype development, with sufficient know-how to employ state-of-the-art processes in HP-RTM, prepreg, pre-forming, C-SMC tools. As indicated by its name that "Experts from the Alps", Alpex could be described as paramount in the composite tooling system world.
Compared with the process of traditional tooling development for metal or plastic products, the methodologies and practical experience of tooling system customized for composite components in China are relatively scarce, which leads to constant quality issues concerning composite end products. Mr. Michael Mair, General Manager of ALPEX China, believes that, currently, the major challenges for composite application lies in deficiency of composite tooling development mode and thinking barriers in China. It requires consultancy and guidance to impel suppliers to develop and manage projects in composite logic throughout the processes, taking fully into account the characteristics and advantages of composite materials, rather than following the existing practice of tooling development. Alpex conducts dynamic validation and optimization of tooling system from early design stage, with profound know-how in tooling integration and automation, thus far, their achievements has covered world's first automated HP-RTM tool with sliders for a rear spoiler with several undercuts, dual cavity wet compression molding tool for a CFRP part, as well as tools for mass production parts and complex structure components with supreme durability. Meanwhile, Alpex’s on-site technical services can help customers quickly grasp hands-on knowledge of molding handling, assembly, use, maintenance and other related skills, thus achieving seamless docking between tooling and production, thereby to improve production efficiency.
(Example of HP-RTM tooling developed by Alpex)
Innovation has always been Alpex's proud driving force, as found from the professional awards they have received. In December 2018, the Ministry of Economy of Tyrol Government Austria, awarded Alpex "Work from Innovation". The award is set up by the Austrian Research Promotion Agency (FFG) to reward companies that make outstanding contributions to innovative products or services as well as provide excellent working environment for their employees. Alpex is also the winner of the "Innovation Potential Award" category in the 2008 Tirol Innovation Award, gained from a C-SMC process for the production of battery applications for electric vehicles co-developed by Alpex, SGL, Graz and Linz University in cooperation.
In 2015, it won the Mechatronics Association Award for an innovative tool design concepts dedicated to carbon fiber components. Meanwhile, ALPEX participated in many prospective projects such as Clean Sky launched by the European Union.
Alpex’s new project in China (Jiangsu ALPEX Technology Co., Ltd.) is a joint venture set up by Austria ALPEX Technologies GmbH and HRC, committed to providing innovative tooling services, especially for mass production of carbon fiber composites for customers from various industries. "As encouraged by the surging demands over the past few years, considering the huge potential and high recognition of composite application in China, we have become ever more confident in the Asian market, " Mr. Michael Mair said: "The final decision of the investment comes after a long period of business discussions with HRC, with topics concerning prospects of mutual target markets and recognition of the corporate culture of both parties."
(Exterior of Alpex and HRC joint venture in China)
"In recent years, HRC focuses on providing whole solution of CFRP part for domestic and overseas auto and aviation manufacturers. The demand for composite tooling solutions is becoming more and more complex. The technical characteristics of Alpex's systematization, flexibility and individualization coincide with HRC's demands. The establishment of the new joint venture will also benefit in complementing each other's strengths, strengthening the alliance, optimizing resource allocation and providing more convenient service for our target customers.”
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