Today, carbon fiber composites are becoming more and more frequently used materials in industrial application. The combination of multiple layers of material in individualized orientations can produce materials of highest material characteristics outperforming high-quality steel, albeit at a significantly decreased weight. When manufacturing such high-quality composite parts for applications ranging from automotive to aerospace, there are several placement methods available. Among them, the Automated Fiber Placement (AFP) offshoot technique employed by Compositence is one of the most efficient and economic methods in the industry today.
Common Manufacturing Techniques
For the actual preform layup, various methods may be applied, ranging from manual work to high-tech machine-supported manufacturing processes and from working with semi-finished woven non-crimp fabrics to direct roving or prepreg placement. Some of the most frequently employed techniques are:
- Advanced or Automated Fiber Placement (AFP)
- Automated Tape Laying (ATL)
- Dry or wet filament winding
Many of these are specific to the respective raw materials used. The layup and cutting into shape of carbon fabrics is handled in a distinctly different way from the technique employed when working directly from the roving. The patented process of fibre placement used by Compositence is chiefly designed for rovings, prepreg filaments as well as thermoplastic tape.
The Benefits of Automation
While a simple car enthusiast creating a single carbon part might choose to work by hand, using costly woven fabrics for the placement process without regard for the material lost in the cutting process, this is not an option for large-scale industry aiming to minimize costs while producing larger volumes of fiber composites at a high quality standard.
In this case, the software-controlled automated layup of rovings ensures that the relatively complex process is finished without the massive material costs associated with cutting non-crimp fabrics into shape. The automatic manufacture of composite parts also allows for the quick creation of large quantities of complex composites at a consistently high quality standard. In addition to this, patented Compositence technologies ensure low costs by eliminating the need for several in-between steps during the layup process.
Fiber Placement Innovations
The patented technique of automated fiber laying employed by Compositence is one of the most economic ways of approaching the manufacture of a composite part. The reasons for this are three-fold:
First of all, load-optimized fiber orientation allows for the use of less roving material. This is because the direction in which the rovings are applied complement each other, creating strong fiber-reinforced composites simply by optimizing the structural attributes of individual layers to support each other.
Secondly, the patented Compositence fibre placement method employs pure rovings directly, instead of weaving, cutting and stacking the final shape from individual pieces of material. This creates less waste, resulting in lowered manufacturing costs, particularly at large production volumes.
Finally, the placement machines employ an edge fixation technique. By only affixing the un-impregnated rovings at the edges of the preforming tool, this allows for both quicker production speeds, easier epoxy injection and the flawless reproduction of even the most complex of preform shapes.
Automation and smart Design
Carbon and fiberglass composite layups can benefit from immense structural integrity while also being very lightweight at the same time. Smart automated fiber placement and orientation processes can minimize the production cost of such highly sought-after composites.
Compositence technologies use rovings directly, optimize fiber orientation according to sophisticated software simulations and employ layup methods which maximize preform production speeds. Thus, the patented technology has proven to be one of the most efficient fiber placement methods available today.