QSP - Quilted Stratum Process - Thermoplastic Multi Thickness Layer Pereform Assembly
This equipment 30 meters in length, co-designed by Pinette P.E.I group in Chalon sur Saône (Burgundy, France), is truly unique. It allows the production of composite parts in a one minute cycle time, using the composite layering process. 35,000 hours of engineering conception and 7 million Euros were necessary to develop this new process in order to attract the automotive and aero manufacturers. This project is a perfect illustration of the continuous & growing collaborative strategy of Pinette P.E.I group.
During the last European Day of Composites (JEC Show) organized in Houston (Texas), the judges got it right, rewarding Pinette P.E.I group with the innovation award of the process category for linear equipment of 30 meters. This equipment is dedicated to composite parts manufacturing through composite layering process.
This breakthrough innovation lies in two main facets:
On one hand the acceleration of cycle times allows the production of net shape parts ready for assembly in one minute.
On the other hand “It also has the capacity to transform up to 5 Kilograms of roll or powdered materials into medium or large sized structural parts”, added Jerome Hubert, president of Pinette P.E.I group.
To design such a line, the composites testing and forming equipment specialist (PEI) combined its expertise with the Cetim technical center (Nantes,France), the toolmaker Compose (Ain, France) and Loiretech (Loire-Atlantique, France).
“We are moving forward in this collaborative way more and more, seeking partners that have expertise in fields we dont master to finally act as a general contractor”, explains the leader.
No Break in the Flow
No less than 35,000 hours of design and development, and a budget of 7 million €, were necessary to design the industrial pilot line. This project came to a close with the inauguration and start-up of the line on November 3rd 2015 at the Cetim space of the Technocampus in Nantes.
Named QSP®, the equipment addresses and targets the automotive sector and the world of aeronautics. In these sectors, manufacturers are looking more and more for composites materials as an alternative to metal parts in order to save weight.
“With our completely integrated process, industrial enterprises shall avoid losses and gain
considerable time in the fabrication process, because there is no break in the flow”, argues Frank Bourcier, the director of Engineering at Loiretech.
Due to the time of obtaining all the certifications, the distribution phase should not start before 2019. Nevertheless, “French and German car manufacturers have already shown their interest”, indicated CEO Jerome Hubert of PEI.
Recruiting at the Top Level
Innovation through its R&D department is the heart of Pinette P.E.Is business strategy and 30% of its Sales revenue. It is often the result of a collaborative approach. It goes hand in hand with the development of its marketing and promotion strategy through an increasing presence at professional shows and technical conferences.
PEI collaborates with suppliers inside the composite industry to find strategic partnerships. The result of such collaboration allows PEI to offer more complete and efficient solutions due to the combination of expertise. Global RTM consists of PEI, Compose Tools, Isojet and Sise, is a successful example of PEIs collaboration strategy. Global RTM specializes in low-pressure injection processes which serves the Aerospace & Aeronautic industries.
”Internally I delegate objectives to my employees in order to give them the possibility to take initiatives and to feel more involved and satisfied with their work”, says CEO Jerome Hubert, who is also recruiting for 8 engineers and technicians.
• 6 engineers :
2 Design Office Managers in Mechanics and Automation
1 International Project Manager
1 Sales Manager for Services including maintenance and equipment follow up
2 Engineers specialized in automation
• 2 technicians for after sales service
In 2015 Pinette P.E.I group has achieved 33 million € ($37.3 million) in Sales Revenue. It employees 120 people all over the world, with affiliates in America and Germany and a sales office in both Brazil and Japan, as well as a new physical presence in China, Qingdao.