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Fibre composite heat treatment

The companies gonvarri and fill will develop in the mutual research project "fit" a basic understanding of the heating, cooling and consolidation behavior of ud thermoplastic tapes and the use the examined heating concepts for the automation of thermoplastic fiber composite components.

Important developments in the fiber composite industry have taken place in recent years in the field of thermoplastic long-fiber reinforced composites. These are very interesting for the automotive industry because of their short cycle time in the production process, in the aviation industry because of their increased impact tolerance and generally because of their advantages in terms of formability, recycling and joining technology. Previously common processes and process chains for the production of thermoplastic composites are the deposition of tapes and their consolidation in a press to Organosheets that can be purchased as a semi-finished or "customized" manufactured. These are later heated in a thermoforming station (eg under an infrared heater) and then formed by a stamping tool in a heated press. However, there is no fully automated process of thermoplastics with associated heating technology for industrially produced components! New mechatronic fiber placement concepts, such as from the company FILL with the Lowflip project or the Multi Layup System, open up new possibilities for energy entry systems (direct current supply, induction heating, contact heating, IR radiation, hot gas, etc.). The aim of the research project FIT is therefore to develop a basic understanding of the heating, cooling and consolidation behavior of UD Thermoplast Tapes (as well as of laminates) and to use the examined heating concepts for the automation of FILL stacking systems. On the one hand, different energy input technologies (no laser technology!), their combination, the pressure application as well as their influence on the resulting material properties, residual stresses and distortion of the laminate will be investigated and on the other hand the mechatronic interfaces between FILL automation technology and the heating and control strategies will be developed. Fundamental issues are: • Which alternative energy input systems are relevant to the laser commonly used in the AFP process? • Which combinations of energy input systems are promising? • Which mechanical, electrical and software interfaces to the stack laying systems (LowFlip, Multi Layup System etc.) or hot drape forming systems at FILL have to be developed? • How can dry, binder-loaded materials be fixed in the production process? • What should be the path planning for laying processes for robotic solutions with integrated heating techniques? • Which control strategies are used in HDF forming plants? • How homogeneous is the heat input or the heat distribution in the substrate / laminate? • What influence does the depositing table or the depositing tool have on the mechanical properties and the morphology of the first layer? How strong is the influence of the temperature of the deposition table on the heating and cooling rate and thus on the morphology of the following layers? • Can heat input and consolidation be done in one step? • Is in-situ consolidation possible during the deposition of the impregnated fiber? Which prerequisites or process boundary conditions must exist for this (heating, contact pressure, etc.)? To what extent can the mechanical characteristics be achieved or exceeded compared to a laminate consolidated in an additional step? • What is the quality of the material after the tape has been deposited and its consolidation in contrast to the original tape? • Is it possible to identify the necessary process boundary conditions for a robust (automated) production process with the help of process simulation in addition to the deepening and improvement of process understanding? • Can the basic understanding of the process, which has been developed through the characterization of the individual situation or the layer package, be transferred to the more complex processes of deposit and consolidation (1D, 2D, 3D)? The Austrian company FILL with its subcontractors the UNIVERSITY OF APPLIED SCIENCE WELS and TCKT - TRANSFER CENTER FOR PLASTICS TECHNOLOGY GMBH (both located in Wels Austria) will therefore engineer an automated heating process technology in an industrial environment for automotive and aeronautic applications. The basis for these industry-oriented trials is a FILL pilot plant for stack laying at the TCKT (LOWFLIP project). By customizing the heating techniques via technology, angle of incidence, distance, intensity, consolidation pressure, travel speed u.v.m. the manufacturing process of fiber composites can be designed to reduce material and energy consumption. Through optimized heat transfer and process design, significant savings potentials can be used in comparison to manual production, which have a positive effect on the overall energy balance of the corresponding product.
Acronym: 
FIT
Project ID: 
12 243
Start date: 
01-03-2018
Project Duration: 
18months
Project costs: 
720 000.00€
Technological Area: 
Industrial Manufacture
Market Area: 
Industrial Equipment and Machinery

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