The manufacture of the latest sandwich structures such as those used in modern aircraft and motor vehicles requires various heating processes. An infrared heating system from Heraeus Noblelight offers the flexibility both for experimental series as well as for manufacturing. The Institute for Lightweight Construction and Plastics Technology (ILK) of the Technical University (TU), Dresden has used this to improve new combination processes such as thermo pressing. The TU Institute has now transferred these innovative processes as they are now economically viable and will shortly be ready for production.

Foam technologies will be increasingly used in the future, says TU, because when they are combined with new joining technologies, they can improve the properties of many components.

In thermopressing, sheets of resin-impregnated composite sheets are joined with foam sheets. To do this, a "sandwich" —made up of thermoplastic composite top and bottom layers and core material — is created in a press tool. Heated semi-finished products are transported into a press tool together with foam sheets, which are layered at top and bottom with the composite sections. On closing the tool, the covering layers and the foam core are brought together and formed under pressure into a sandwich structure.

Infrared systems transfer heat without the need for a contact medium, with the aid of electromagnetic waves, which generate the heat directly in the material to be heated. Infrared systems offer flexible adjustment and control of the output power.