Cost-effective, continuous production of multi-layer laminates with high flexibility – Prototype upgrade

13 January 2020 News AZL Admin

The Ultra-Fast Consolidator Machine which was developed within a Joint Partner Project by AZL, is now up and running for automated, continuous tailored blank manufacturing using thermoplastic fibre reinforced tapes.

The UItra-Fast Consolidator Machine offers both high flexibility and mass production capability of tailored composite thermoplastic laminates with reduced scrap. Fully consolidated multi-layer laminates with different fiber angle orientations and minimized scrap can be produced in cycle times below 5 seconds with this scalable machine setup, which won the JEC World Innovation Award 2019 in the category “Industry & Equipment”. Highly energy-efficient laser heating systems provide the capability for full in-situ consolidation of laminates.

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Highly parallelizable, low-footprint tape placement heads allow for flexible laminate layup while conserving near net-shaped laminate geometry. During the follow-up project, these will be improved by integration of an NC-controlled linear axis for individual, automated online repositioning transversal to the carrier movement direction, enabling highly flexible, automated production.

The project team is now working on the upgrade of the existing prototype machine. An additional tape placement station and a closed process line for automated production were successfully integrated, which allow for cost-effective, continuous production of multi-layer laminates with higher flexibility.

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The project team will conclude the project with the preparation and the support of the commercialization of the machine in 2020, which will cover a business case development, the benchmarking of state-of-the-art systems, the definition of market requirements and challenges as well as the according public relation work.

For more information regarding the project, please contact us directly:

Alexander Peitz
Research Assistant at AZL of RWTH Aachen University
Phone: +49 241 8024 520