Prototypes make ideas visible. New concepts – from the modification of fundamental material properties or construction methods through to innovative products made of CFRP, GFRP or new material systems – can often only then be successful when a tangible prototype is presented. When developing such prototypes, engineers and skilled workers bundle their knowledge and experience. In close cooperation with the highly flexible INVENT production department, they implement the concepts in a customer-oriented and targeted manner right through to production of the specific part.

Innovative sensor / Natural fibre Canadian canoe / Ultralight CFRP tubes

The focus is always on the best possible selection of materials and processes with a view to potential series applications. The technical spectrum of the prototype development covers all areas in which INVENT is involved. It ranges from traditional fibre composite lightweight construction to sensors and actuators and right on to the application of multifunctional materials. An extensive range of equipment and sound, up-to-date expert knowledge make the company a dynamic, reliable partner in all areas of industry and research which are all about turning new ideas and technologies into reality.

The broad range of prototypes which can be created by INVENT is grouped according to their complexity into four different classes:

Demonstrators for new processes and materials. On the basis of new semi-finished products and manufacturing techniques, the functional principal is demonstrated using simple components before the new technology is transferred to more complex components.

Prototypes, the product geometry and visual characteristics make products tangible. They can be used for handling and installation tests. Such prototypes are primarily used by customers for display at trade shows. INVENT often makes large structures on a reduced scale.

Prototypes for function integration and demonstration of construction concepts serve as a verification of technical feasibility. They offer solutions for the production strategy with a view to a subsequent series production and allow the desired properties to be analysed in trial programmes.

Prototypes which fulfil structural and functional properties are the result of extensive development programmes. INVENT’s engineers competently implement the necessary construction and calculation tasks. Special testing programmes for material characterisation often accompany such a complex development. Tests qualify the prototype for use in reality.

Example BepiColombo - Prototype of a High Temperature Waveguide

BepiColombo (Image © ESA – P. Carril)
Prototype Waveguide

The BepiColombo Mission for ESA in 2016 is dedicated to exploring the planet Mercury which is the closest planet to the sun. The operation of a Mercury Planetary Orbiter is planned for this expedition. The information exchange between Earth and the satellite is to take place via the High Temperature High Gain Antenna using microwaves. One element of the antenna is the complex, curved High Temperature Waveguide.

Using a part section with a curvature of 180°, INVENT created a prototype of this waveguide. The specific use of highly temperature-resistant carbon fibre composite materials (CFRP) allow long-term operation at temperatures up to 250°C in the hottest region of our solar system. A metal surface coating of the CFRP ensures the ability to transmit the microwaves. CFRP also possesses a very small or negative coefficient of thermal expansion. Any temperature variations between facing towards or away from the sun can therefore only cause very small changes in the cross section dimensions. This guarantees the reliable transmission of the microwaves.


European probe flies to Mercury

Last Saturday, the European-Japanese space probe “BepiColombo” was launched from the Kourou Spaceport in French Guiana, headed for the smallest and least-known planet of our solar system, more

ExoMars rover shaken up properly

To make sure the ExoMars rover can withstand the vibrations and shocks of launch, atmospheric entry, parachute deploy and landing, a structural and thermal model is shaken on a vibration table more