Putting Carbon4Tool to the test

DUQUEINE - a specialist in composites

    DUQUEINE Group is a world-class manufacturer of composite parts based in Massieux, France. Find out how DUQUEINE joined forces with Voith Composites to test Voith’s disruptive CFRP prepreg material for tooling applications, Carbon4Tool, revealing an impressive reduction in overall production times and a commitment for future collaboration.


    Once the director of a successful car racing team, Gilles Duqueine founded DUQUEINE - a group that designs and manufactures high-performance composite parts and sub-assemblies in the aeronautic, industrial, and sports and leisure sectors. DUQUEINE is internationally recognised in the composite industry with a customer base filled with famous names within the aeronautical and automotive industries, and a 700-strong workforce across five sites worldwide.

    DUQUEINE has kept itself at the forefront of carbon-fiber-reinforced polymers (CFRP) manufacturing technologies over the years. The group is exploring new ways to manufacture composite tooling for its own production of composite parts.

    Collaborating with Voith Composites

      Recently, DUQUEINE engaged with Munich-based Voith Composites to test its disruptive CFRP prepreg material for tooling applications - a material designed to exponentially speed up the production of CFRP tools. Voith’s Carbon4Tool uses a tiled system for CFRP tooling applications. Each prepreg tile comprises one layer of 2x2 twill and four layers of laid-up and segmented UD (unidirectional) tapes to ensure perfect drapability, even in sharp corners. The final tool-skin is made from two layers, whereby each second tile is mirrored onto the first one. This results in a 1:8:1 layup and a nominal thickness of 4.6 millimeters.

      On this occasion, DUQUEINE’s objective was to develop a benchmark between manufacturing tools made with Carbon4Tool material and conventional manufacturing - a multilayered and labour-intensive tooling prepreg laying process involving many debulks, which is traditionally used in the industry.

      Carbon4Tool Facts

      • Cut in 200mm segments for the same draping experience as with conventional twill.
      • Remove from the freezer as required with a defrost time of less than 10 minutes.
      • Easy to place, even on complex moulds with sharp edges.
      • No specific skills or training required to apply CFRP tooling material.
      • Produces a perfectly smooth and shiny surface quality.

      DUQUEINE prepared a master block for the manufacturing of a CFRP tool for the production of a car bonnet for a famous sports brand. The Voith team arrived at DUQUEINE early one Tuesday morning with a kit consisting of 90 tailored prepreg segments of Carbon4Tool designed by Voith‘s engineers. This kit of Carbon4Tool material was based on an optimised draping simulation for Duqueine’s particular CFRPmould, created by Voith from a 3D file.

      Each material patch was numbered and the layup was defined in a step-by-step playbook. The optimised tailored kitting had been manufactured using Voith’s unique, proprietary and fully automated tape-laying machine (the “Voith Rowing Applicator” - VRA) and was cut to near shape. The stack segments were then compacted and frozen in vacuumsealed bags ready for lamination.

      Working together under the lead of Voith’s engineers, both teams started the draping process of the CFRP patches. With a defrost time of less than 10 minutes, the numbered parts of prepreg only needed to be removed from the freezer as required and shortly before their application. No specific skills or training are required to apply the thick CFRP tooling material for the UD tape it contains. It is cut in 200mm segments, allowing for the same draping experience as with conventional twill.

      The composite industry remains in constant development, and it was important for DUQUEINE to test this revolutionary tooling material from Voith to remain at the forefront of the technology. We will adopt Voith’s innovative Carbon4Tool material for future tooling applications for it brings very clear customer and economic benefits.
      Mr. MANGIN, Chief Research and Development of DUQUEINE Group

      This segmented design allows for the perfect drapability of the material. Although Voith’s Carbon4Tool stacks feature a combined four layers of 548gsm UD and the 200gsm surface twill, they were very easy to place, even onto the more complex areas and around the sharpest edges of the mould. To help replicate a perfect tight radius and sharp edge and to deliver a perfect cosmetic finish, Voith also provides an edge kit consisting of 40mm-wide strips of 200gsm twill cut at 45° and 50mm UD tapes to be used for ‘boot laces’.

      While the conventional lamination methods involve the individual laying of 10 plies and typically include four or more debulks, Carbon4Tool only requires two layers of Carbon4Tool material to be reversely applied on top of one another.

      The result – impeccable surface quality

        Carbon4Tool produced a perfectly smooth and shiny surface quality, with every single sharp contour and edge of the CFRP tooling perfectly replicated from the master block without porosity, pinholes or visible imperfection. The use of this material translated up to a 70 percent time-saving in its overall production compared to a conventional draping methodology, as well as further time-saving when in regular production.

        DUQUEINE’s engineers were impressed by the high quality and cosmetic standards of the tooling mould obtained and will adopt Voith’s Carbon4Tool material as part of its portfolio of tooling technologies in the future.