The industrial leap from metals and alloys to composite materials has created the need for production technology capable of meeting the strict demands of this highly complex new field of manufacturing. Businesses that require light yet strong materials needs to put great effort into implementing the technological systems necessary to produce materials in an economic way without sacrificing the great precision necessary for the assembly of composites. Hence, patented Compositence production technology makes extensive use of cutting-edge software, manipulation systems as well as design and planning processes.
Techniques and Technologies
Today, there are a variety of different manufacturing and engineering processes available for the industrial production of high-performance composites. Some of the most universally used industrial techniques include:
- Manual placement
- Automated Fiber Placement (AFP)
- Filament Winding
- Automated Tape Laying (ATL)
These techniques can be subdivided into placement and curing processes. The former are ways of producing layups, while the latter are concerned with the preforming and finalizing of the finished product.
Outside industry applications, fiber rovings and resin binder material can be easily laid into shape by hand and cured with simple tools. However, the requirement of high production standards and the volumes at which chemically and structurally complex parts are produced at an industrial level makes automation an absolute necessity.
The patented Compositence variant of Automated Fiber Placement is one of these machine-manufacturing processes. Using robotic arms, carbon fibers, prepreg materials or unidirectional tapes that are applied directly to a layup surface or preform. This makes cutting into shape unnecessary and thus eliminates the great amounts of waste material usually encountered during manual layup.
The combination of sophisticated controller software and flexible hardware allows Compositence technology to work at a level of efficiency unmatched in the industry today. Using an edge fixation method for the fibers, the production technology is capable of creating even complex shapes very quickly, leading to large attainable volumes of production turnout.
Curing the finished products is usually done via specialized ovens or autoclaves which apply great temperatures and pressure. Depending on the physical properties of the binder used for preforming the composite, the required amount of heat and pressure can vary.
Thermoplastic binder materials melt at lower temperatures than duroplastic material, some of them requiring low enough temperatures to make the use of technology such as high-powered ovens unnecessary. However, in many applications – such as in the field of aerospace engineering – duroplastics are the norm, meaning that autoclaves are still the most frequently used technology for heat-molding finished preforms.
Autoclaves are capable of not only producing the great heat required for curing composites, but also creating pressurized or even vacuum environments to support this process.
Modern Compositence Production Technology saves Time and lowers Costs
Placing composite layups by hand is out of the question for industrial-level high-performance fiber composite manufacturing. Only highly automated processes employing robotics technology allow for short production cycles in the complex field of composite manufacture.
Compositence production technology combines flexible hardware and sophisticated software into a system capable of planning, simulating and producing even complex composites quickly and cost-efficiently. At the same time, its large degree of automation keeps the probability of human error at a minimum.