Although much has already been told about the JEC 2015 tradeshow , we would also like to highlight some of the news detected there around dry composites use.
Indeed, dry is taking more and more place in the production of composite parts. At the 2015 tradefair we could see how AFP and ATL (Ingersoll, Coriolis, MTorres, Electroimpact…) systems were changing to be more versatile and capable of laying also dry materials. Gripping systems were also pushing innovation to be able to handle the dry fabrics gently, accurately and without disturbing the fiber orientation. Automation of the preforming is one of the main issues.
Innovative machine architectures
Two machines attracted our attention due to their innovative configuration.
The Staxx Compact 1700 by Broetje, oriented to both aerospace and automotive applications, is a machine that reminds us of a machining centre. With axes on the head and working table, the machine allows free design of parts as it works with tows, in up to 16 parallel lanes. The machine is said to be able to work with any kind of materials: thermoplastic, thermoset and dry tows. It was designed looking for high productivities and flexibility. Although the machine concept has limits in flexibility, when compared to current AFP systems installed on robots and with laying quality still to be improved, this first model of the machine shows a high commitment from Broetje on this technology.
DMG MORI´s mobile ULTRASONIC-machining of COMPOSITES for MRO
The machine tool manufacturer presented a composite repair solution. As they state in their commercial info: “The 5-axis kinematics with integrated rotary- and swivel-axis allows challenging operations with angles of ± 95°. Due to the lightweight construction and the specially designed vacuum system, the ULTRASONIC mobileBLOCK can be adapted easily and flexibly onto the damaged components. The gripping system has double angle compensation thanks to its adjustable adaption arms and vacuum feet with ball joint”
DLR is using a similar architecture in a research program for a complete new repair process :the machine is directly mounted on damaged structures and mills typical repair scarf. It uses an infusion process of dry fiber preforms for the patch manufacturing. The process is an in-situ infusion and curing of the patch directly in the scarf “
The concept of these systems is similar to previous works, or even actual devices on the market, like those from Fatronik or Mtorres.
GRIPPERS of the AZIMUT project for complex geometries
Tha adaptability problem of the gripping solutions for complex geometries has been tackled in the Azimut project which tries three different ideas :
SECTORS – application of composites
Aeronautics as a very strong sector developing automatization solutions for other parts in the value chain and lot of investigation in automatization processes, materials and simulation programs always looking to improve: fiability, quality and cost (flexibility, speed…)
Automotive seems to be taking another step in their slow approach into composite. Although in the long term, it will be an interesting market. But the fair was reflecting bigger interest, new projects and new developments.
As regards to the wind energy, blade manufacturing keeps to be a matter of research. Due to increasing blade sizes specially in the offshore, carbon fiber could also be a material of choice. DLR presented the Smart Blades project for the production of bir carbon blades.
Another project around blades is the BladeMaker. It is working in the automation of the production of the blades.The objectives are reduction of labor costs, less material costs and improved blade quality and reliability. Big companies like Siemens, Sinoi, Basf….are some of the partners.
As usual JEC Europe has proved to be a must in the world of composites.