Advanced Engineering 2018

Conbility and Fraunhofer IPT Commercialise Tape Processing Systems

20 February 2018

Conbility and Fraunhofer IPT Commercialise Tape Processing Systems

Conbility and Fraunhofer Institute for Production Technology (IPT), Aachen have started a long-term cooperation for the further development and commercialisation of Fraunhofer's tape placement and tape winding systems with in-situ-consolidation using laser or IR heat sources.

Conbility will offers two different systems.

The PrePro 2D machine allows for the automated tailored tape placement of UD laminates which can be used for subsequent thermoforming or as stiffening structures in injection moulding processes. The machine comprises a rotating and translational table which is moved relatively to the applicator station. The table is scalable according to customer requirements. Standard table diameters are 1200 mm and 2000 mm. The applicator station can be equipped with a single or with multiple spool applicators. Because of the large process area, a 9 kW IR heater is used for the in-situ-consolidation process.

The PrePro 3D tape placement and winding applicator is available as modular product with decentralised control system for 'plug-in' implementation in existing robot systems or machine systems by standard interfaces for the communication with the master control system. Conbility provides the single applicator as well as turnkey systems including the robot and handling systems. The PrePro 3D is multifunctional, accomplishing laser-assisted thermoplastic tape placement, IR-assisted thermoset prepreg placement and dry fibre placement in a single, modular system.

During JEC World 2018 in Paris, 6-8 March, Conbility will present its new VCSEL Tape Placement and Winding Applicator, developed in cooperation with Fraunhofer IPT and Philips Photonics at the AZL Composites in Action area. This uses an integrated VCSEL (Vertical-Cavity Surface Emitting Laser) heat source developed by Philips. This tape placement and winding applicator can also be integrated as modular 'plug-in' system into industrial jointed-arm and linear gantry robots in variable manufacturing cells. The new VCSEL heat source is said to lower investment and process cost in comparison to other laser systems. The VCSEL laser system can also accomplish controllable in-process adjustments of the laser-spot geometry as well as the intensity distribution within the spot size during the process for the first time. The system has 2 kW laser power and 10 separate emission zones which can be controlled separately.

Photo provided by Fraunhofer

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