Automated Composites Manufacturing

Flexible and intelligent production of composite components with manufacturing robots

Automated Composites Manufacturing

Today, fiber-reinforced plastics are increasingly being used in the aerospace and automotive industries. They offer very good strength values at a low dead weight. They are primarily used for applications where weight reduction is a priority. The manual production of fiber-reinforced components is time consuming and requires many individual steps.

Various new manufacturing processes have been developed in the search for possibilities to realize automated processing with high component qualities. These are each designed and limited to a specific application.

High component quality through automated production of fiber composite components.
With the help of a digital model of the component to be produced, the corresponding robot program is generated offline. This can then be transferred directly to production. SWMS Systemtechnik has been developing software for programming and simulating such tape courses.

Fiber-reinforced plastics

A fiber reinforced plastic (FRP) is a material consisting of a matrix and endless reinforcing fibres. The matrix, i.e. a plastic in which the carbon fibres are embedded, forms the basic structure. It consists of a polymer (chemical substance). As a rule, glass, aramide or carbon are chosen as the fiber material.

Tape laying

Tape laying involves heating a tape reinforced with unidirectional fibers to the melting temperature and placing it under pressure on a surface to be simulated with the aid of a roller. Tape laying is particularly suitable for large components with slight curvatures and offers high potential for fully automated product production in small to medium-sized series. It is possible to adapt the alignment of the tapes to the requirements of the respective component. Tape laying thus offers a high potential for use in lightweight construction.

Advantages of automated path generation

Visual process simulation
One software platform
Import of all common CAD file formats
collision detection
Time saving through automation
Offline Simulation
"You can do things that are unique but which are impossible with any other technique."
(Suong Van Hoa, Professor at Concordia University in Montreal)

Steering

Steering is the deviation of a CFRP track from a straight line. The result is the occurrence of stresses in a web of carbon fiber composite material. These are caused by different lengths of the edge contours that occur at radii. The following figure illustrates the steering of a CFRP web. The inner contour is shorter than the outer contour. This causes stresses in the CFRP web. Steering always occurs on non-geodetic fiber courses or when depositing on non-planar surfaces.

Gaps/Overlaps

When laying the course (a combination of several CFRP courses laid at the same time), different types of gaps can occur. Since the surface on which the courses are laid is not flat, parallel gaps can occur between two courses that do not intersect. When cutting one course with another, e.g. to stay within the maximum angle deviation, triangular gaps occur due to the geometry of the CFRP courses. In contrast to the gaps, the overlaps, i.e. the superposition of the paths, form the gaps.

Ply

The structural components are made of several layers of the material, which are also called Plies. One layer of the CFRP material is also called Ply.

Staggering

Due to the directional dependency of a CFRP layer, components made of carbon fiber composite plastics are constructed from several layers of different orientation. The arrangement of the layers ensures the force absorption from different directions and thus makes the material usable.

The layering of several layers or plies is also known as staggering.

Material waste

Cutting the fiber layers to size, results in high production costs, because the material waste is usually very large and therefore only a small part of the original material can be used. This waste can be optimized with the right software, which is tailored to your needs, thus increasing the use of existing resources and reducing production costs.

Duroplastics and Thermoplastics

Duroplastics and thermoplastics as the name says are plastics. While thermoplastics can be deformed several times at a certain temperatures, thermosets can only be machined after curing, whereby the temperature for curing the duroplast is lower. Thermoplastics are more environmentally friendly than duroplast, because no solvents are used in production and they are also recyclable.

CFRP path generation

At SWMS, we concentrate on individual development in the area of automated composites manufacturing. We develop software according to requirements so that you as our customer get the best result and even better support.

Contact us about your idea and project. Together we will find a way for successful implementation.

Contact us now

References

Get in touch with us

Do you have questions about digitisation or the implementation of your digital transformation? Do not hesitate to contact us. We will be happy to help you!

Marc Loegel

Composites Teamleader
Senior Software Developer & Composites Expert

Oldenburg

+49 (0) 441 960 21 0
SWMS Systemtechnik Ingenieurgesellschaft mbH
Donnerschweer Straße 4a
26123 Oldenburg

 

+49 (0) 441 559 795 25
SWMS Consulting GmbH
Donnerschweer Straße 4a
26123 Oldenburg

Bremen

+49 (0) 421 960 12 30
SWMS Technologies GmbH
World Trade Center
Hermann-Köhl Str. 7
28199 Bremen
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