High-quality metal alloys used to be the vanguard of the engineering world. Since then, major advances have been made, creating composites which, when manufactured correctly, can easily surpass steel in terms of structural integrity – at a fracture of the weight. To create high-quality composite parts, techniques such as Automated Fiber Placement (AFP) and Tape Laying (ATL) use a combination of intelligent fiber orientation and machine-supported manufacturing methods. The difference between these two techniques lies mainly with the production materials used.
The Fundamentals of Tape Laying
Using software-controlled machine systems, Tape Laying allows for the creation of a layup featuring relatively complex shapes. While Automated Fiber Placement typically uses pure carbon rovings, Tape Laying employs already pre-impregnated composite tapes consisting of continuous fibers and plastic binder elements.
The actual process of Tape Laying, meanwhile, is almost identical to that of Automated Fiber Placement – the tape is mechanically applied to a mold, creating a multi-layered surface. In order to ensure great structural integrity of the resulting composite, individual layers are oriented in different directions. This way, the composites can significantly increase the strength of finished products on physical principles alone.
While many machines used for industrial preforming are only able to work with either rovings, prepregs or tapes, the patented Compositence system can be used for all three materials interchangeably. This allows for great production flexibility without the need for specialized equipment for all three types or resources.
The fitting Composites
Compositence offers composite preforming using unidirectional multi-layered tapes fashioned from a combination of spread continuous fibers and plastic binder materials in-between. In order to provide for any application, several individualization options are available, among them such important aspects as:
- Custom length and width
- Number of layers
- Binder properties
- Individual surface weight
The material is flexible and highly drapable, allowing for both manual and automated application on three-dimensional molds of even complex shapes.
The Advantage of Tape Laying
This type of layup resource is used in order to manufacture composite parts quickly and cost effectively. The use of these materials has the distinct advantage over many other manufacturing techniques, of allowing application of the material directly to a mold, without the need for weaving, cutting and stacking raw material to create a preform. This makes the laying procedure quicker and more economic by eliminating the problem of wasted material cutouts from the very beginning.
Compositence machine-based manufacturing procedures save time and costs. Modern Automated Tape Laying (ATL) machines also work with unmatched precision, guaranteeing high-quality results.
As the tapes are already pre-manufactured in layers of fiber and binder, this also means that curing preforms created through tape laying does not require resin injections. Furthermore, their easy drapability allows them to be effectively employed for the creation of soft edges and other more rounded forms, while high-precision products are usually fashioned via placement of pure carbon rovings.
Composites provide Strength and Flexibility
Components fashioned via Tape Laying offer the structural integrity and robustness of high-grade steel at a fraction of the weight. The tapes combine fibrous material with plastic binder elements to create highly flexible composites which can be easily applied to any preform. Meanwhile, individualization of the size and number of layers with Compositence can be employed to create a fitting base resource for any application, with no excess materials left over, leading to more effective planning and lowered manufacturing costs.