DRIFT | Load-compatible reinforcement of injection-molded components using machine-bent wires made of fiber composite material

The DRIFT process route

Glass fibers and especially carbon fibers act as ideal reinforcements for plastic components due to their excellent weight-specific mechanical properties. However, in order to achieve an effective reinforcing effect, the fibers must be embedded in the component along the main load path direction. Traditional methods always require a carrier (e.g. a mold or support structure) with which the fibers can be deposited in the desired orientation. However, this is not necessary with DRIFT technology.

The special feature of the DRIFT process is the combination of various established processes that have been tried and tested in other areas of application. DRIFT technology combines pultrusion, the automated bending process and injection molding into an integrated overall process chain (see illustration below). This enables synergistic use of the advantages of the individual technologies. The use of machine-bent pultruded profiles as continuous fiber-reinforced wire-shaped inserts is a central element of the reinforcement process. Machine bending can be used to create a »3D carbon skeleton« of almost any shape, which is then inserted into an injection mold and overmolded in order to achieve a load path-compatible reinforcement.

Prozessdarstellung :Die DRIFT-Technologie kombiniert etablierte Verfahren (Pultrusion, automatisiertes Biegeverfahren, Spritzguss) zu einer integrierten Gesamtprozesskette.
© Fraunhofer IGCV
The DRIFT process route: DRIFT technology combines established processes (pultrusion, automated bending, injection molding) to create an integrated composite process chain

DRIFT technology suitable for the mass market

DRIFT technology combines several decisive advantages:

  • Efficient process route by combining established individual technologies
  • High geometric flexibility as individual carriers for the design of the 3D skeletons are not required
  • Efficient use of raw materials thanks to optimized use of fibres and waste-free processes
  • Recyclability through the use of thermoplastics.

Key developments achieved throughout the research project include:

  • Further development and optimization of continuous fibre-reinforced wire production using thermoplastic pultrusion
  • Development of a wire bending machine that meets the requirements

To determine and illustrate the efficiency of the DRIFT technology, two application examples were presented using demonstrator components, as can be seen in this illustration:

Zwei Anwendungsbeispiele des DRIFT-Verfahrens aus der Automobilindustrie
© Fraunhofer IGCV
Two application examples of the DRIFT process from the automotive industry

Other interesting reference projects on this topic



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Bio-based polyurethane reinforcement lamella with cellulose fibers for timber constructions


Standardization of the single-fiber pull-out test to measure fiber-matrix adhesion

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The key sectors of Fraunhofer IGCV:

  • Mechanical and plant engineering
  • Aerospace
  • Automotive and commercial vehicles


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