Composite pultruded profiles are lightweight parts which can be successfully employed to increase fuel efficiency of vehicles or advanced performance in the edification sector. However, the existing limitations in terms of high cost to properly coat the surface in order to offer enough aesthetic properties or new functionalities reduce their competitiveness when compared to heavier traditional materials with higher maintenance requirements and cost.

COALINE will develop an in-line clean one-stage process, which is free of VOCs and small particles emissions, able to produce properly coated composite pultruded profiles by means of the development and integration of the sensing technology, advanced die design and microwave aided curing needed to adjust the curing degree of the resin in each stage of the die to foster an improved composite – coating adhesion with a reduced labour and process cost. COALINE profiles will be joined to other materials by means of a primer type coating, incorporated also in-line, with debonding on-demand properties.

COALINE aims to address the production of valuable coated pultruded profiles by dramatically reducing their cost (up to 35%) and the number of processing steps, significantly increase output and improving their qualityin comparison with coated pultruded profiles obtained nowadays by means of the following innovations:

• New multi-stage die design with resin and coating polymerization separated into a multi-cavity structure.

• A microwave heating system inside the die that will reduce the polymerization time and the energy employed to produce the composites. The MW system developed will be valid independently of the type of fibers employed to produce the composites (glass or carbon).

• New range of modified resins and gel-coats with MW susceptors to improve radiation absorption and achieve a fast curing process.

• An innovative control system to foster the adhesion of the coating to the composite by means of a controlled curing degree in each stage of the process.

• Improvement of the labour conditions by minimizing the Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) emissions by directly injecting the resin and the coating inside the die and avoiding post-manufacturing treatments of the composite surface.

• The development of innovative fast curing primers to permit the employment of de-bonding on demand adhesives to foster the adhesion between the composite and other metallic part, the recycling and maintenance of the pultruded structures.

Composites obtained by means of the COALINE technology will be fully protected with the selected coating, with a minor cost to the non-coated profiles in a fast, automated and smart manufacturing process, fostering the implementation of lightweight materials in applications such as aeronautics, automotive, marine, building, etc. Figure 1 shows the difference between traditional pultrusion process and the COALINE process.

This project has received funding from the European Union Seventh Framework Programme (FP7/2007-2013) under grant agreement n° [609149].

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