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EC Funding for Research into Cost-Effective Manufacturing using Selective Tape-Laying for Multi-Material Components

  • Tuesday, 24th September 2013
  • Reading time: about 2 minutes

Stellar, a three-year project, will look to develop manufacturing processes for the high-speed placement of carbon, glass and fibre–reinforced-polymer matrices, in selected locations in a composite structure, to provide the optimum reinforcement, weight and cost profile within a part.

The concept is to develop the design methodologies, simulation tools, manufacturing processes, equipment and control systems needed for localised placement of different fibre-reinforced thermoplastic composite tapes onto different substrates, creating locally reinforced components that are fully weight-optimised.

To achieve this, the project will focus on the development of the Automated Tape Laying (ATL) processes to selectively place reinforced thermoplastic tapes in the following three manufacturing routes.

  • Selective reinforcement of existing components;
  • Direct additive manufacture of components; and
  • Manufacture of selectively reinforced tailored blanks for compression moulding.

The manufacturing process developed will have a significant effect on the weight of structures, as for the first time it will allow different reinforcement fibres (polymer, glass, carbon) to be used synergistically in the same thermoplastic polymer matrix, to produce hybrid multi-material structural components with optimised performance and weight.

The Stellar consortium comprises; NetComposites and CGTech from the UK, HBW-Gubesch Thermoforming and Fraunhofer IPT from Germany, Airborne Technology Centre and AFPT from the Netherlands, ESI Group from France, Montanuniversitat Leoben from Austria and Toyota Motor Europe from Belgium.

The research leading to these results has received funding from the European Union’s Seventh Framework Programme (FP7/2007-2013) under grant agreement no. 609121.

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