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ESI Consolidates its Composites Manufacturing Simulation

  • Tuesday, 7th February 2012
  • Reading time: about 3 minutes

ESI Group has released their PAM-RTM and PAM-FORM 2012, two numerical simulation applications dedicated to the manufacture of composite parts.

They say this composites manufacturing simulation suite is a unique industrial solution to define and optimise manufacturing processes of dry textiles and prepregs, with the objective of achieving better part quality and lower production time cycle and cost.

According to ESI, the suite was developed through partnerships in several fields including automotive, aerospace and defence, PAM-FORMis a virtual manufacturing solution dedicated to non-metallic forming processes. They say PAM-FORM enables realistic and predictive forming and pre-forming simulation of laminated composites, allowing engineers to select the most appropriate material, the right tooling design, and the best process parameters. “PAM-FORM helped us achieve our project goals: lower weight and cost of production while preserving the mechanical properties of the part. Additionally, it provided us with more information on optimising our production process which can be reapplied to similar projects,” affirms Josef Krena, Development Manager at Letov Letecká Výroba, part of Latécoère Group.

ESI explain that PAM-FORM allows engineers to predict manufacturing defects, including wrinkling, excessive shearing, bridging or inappropriate thickness distribution; and to correct them by modifying the process parameters or the tooling. Josef Krena confirms “Recently, we designed a forming tool for which we used PAM-FORM to optimise its tipping angle. It helped us reduce the cost of that tool without affecting the quality of the part.”

PAM-FORM addresses a large range of composites manufacturing processes: stamping, diaphragm forming, hand lay-up and rubber pad forming. The latest enhancements mainly focus on dry textile preforming.

ESI say that PAM-RTM is a simulation software application for resin injection or infusion of composite preforms with or without inserts and core materials. It provides an accurate prediction of the manufacturing process of thick, complex or large composite components commonly encountered in wind energy, aeronautics and automotive industries. They explain that PAM-RTM covers a wide range of Liquid Composites Moulding manufacturing processes: Resin Transfer Moulding (RTM), Vacuum Assisted RTM (VARTM), Vacuum Assisted Resin Infusion (VARI), Compression-RTM and Articulated-CRTM (CRTM and A-CRTM). Simulating these processes allows engineers to determine the optimal injection strategy, minimize the injection time, control the curing cycle and manage the resulting porosity of the finished part.

Professor Jeferson Avila Souza, from the Federal University of Rio Grande, Brazil, comments “We have chosen PAM-RTM due to its ability to run 3D models in a realistic way and simulate resin injection in parts such as small boat hulls, propeller blades and automotive parts. We have also considered that it can be handled by group members that do not directly work with numerical techniques. The simulation process is steady, leading to quick and reliable results.”

ESI claim that the new in version 2012, manages thermal analysis of preheating, non-isothermal filling and curing in an even more accurate manner. They say that thanks to the active support of the University of Nottingham in the UK, a permeability database addressing a large number and variety of textiles is now available for PAM-RTM customers, and will be enriched over time.

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