3D-LightTrans (2011 - 2015)

Large scale manufacturing technology for high-performance lightweight 3D multifunctional composites

Project goals for the manufacturing of integral large scale 3D textile reinforced plastic composites:

  • provide groundbreaking, highly flexible, efficient and adaptable low-cost technologies
  • include innovative approaches for the individual processes
  • integration in complete manufacturing chains à shift from cost intensive, small series niche markets, to broadly extended mass product applications.

To fulfill these goals, the 3D-LightTrans manufacturing chains will be based on multimaterial semifinished fabrics, processed to deep draped prefixed multilayered and multifunctional 3D-textile preforms, which will be processed into composites by a thermoforming process.  

By integrating these new, innovative process steps with full automation in -nowadays mostly manually performed- complex handling operations, it will be possible to obtain a fully automated and highly adaptable manufacturing chain to achieve integral large scale 3D composites.

3D-LightTrans will open the way to a totally new concept for the design, manufacturing and application of composites for low-cost mass products in a wide range of sectors.

The consortium brings together multidisciplinary research teams from:

  • European leading companies, including industrial stakeholders from machine tools and machine automation,
  • several OEM active in the field of processing of flexible materials and composite manufacturing, as well as from the application sector,
  • research centra in the area of materials, production research and technical textiles in particular.


Funded by: FP7 NMP Large Collaborative Project

Project duration : 01/02/2011 - 31/01/2015

Contact: Prof. Dr. Paul Kiekens, Ir. Els Van der Burght