Cevotec presents extended Fiber-Patch-Placement-based production systems at Advanced Engineering 2017
With the scalable SAMBA Series concept, Cevotec extends the possibilities of Fiber Patch Placement. With SAMBA Scale, SAMBA Pro and SAMBA Step, equipment options are available for series production with 100 kg fiber throughput per hour as well as cost-effective prototyping.
"Fiber Patch Placement for series production of complex preforms yields a new level of automation and material efficiency that conventional lay-up processes cannot provide," states Thorsten Groene, Managing Director of Cevotec. Lay-up processes with a high material throughput usually produce 2D preforms, which then are formed to shape in press. This is an additional production step and causes additional costs. On the other end, 3D printers produce complex, filigree geometries without additional forming steps, but have a low material throughput and long production cycles.
With Fiber Patch Placement, complex-shaped 3D preforms are created in a single automated process without additional forming, using about 30% less material than conventional technologies. In the easy-to-use digital design process, the load-oriented fiber laminate, including locally-adjusted thicknesses if required, are specified. The finished parts are characterized by a stiffness and strength that is up to 150% above those of classically manufactured components.
Given the scalability of the manufacturing system, Fiber Patch Placement is now available for almost every production setting. In high-volume production, the production cells process up to 15 kg of material per hour. Combined as production lines, the SAMBA Scale cells reach a constant throughput of up to 100 kg per hour, even when producing highly complex 3D-preforms. SAMBA Pro, the flexible “allrounder” of the production cells, produces complex-shaped 3D-preforms with a layup speed of 1 patch per second (2-3 kg fibers per hour), and is particularly suited for a flexible, high-volume batch production of components, given its short set-up times and rapid tool changing system. SAMBA Step, the third pre-configured system variant, is perfectly aligned with the requirements of small scale production, prototyping and R&D, also regarding its price tag. A flexible degree of automation allows the adaptation to the needs of developers. "At the moment, all systems process bindered dry carbon and glass fiber," explains Felix Michl, CTO of Cevotec, "but we are currently testing the processing of prepreg fibers. A development in which our clients are very interested in and that certainly will attract much attention at Advanced Engineering 2017.”
New Fiber Patch Placement concepts for aerospace - Cevotec expands application range by multi-material layup for sandwich structures
Fiber Patch Placement (FPP) has become the preferred technology for the automated production of complex fiber composite components. The additive manufacturing of components with suitably-sized patches is used especially in the aerospace and automotive industries, for medical devices and sports equipment. In close cooperation with leading manufacturers of components for the aerospace industry, Cevotec further develops the entire patch placement process according to the requirements of the industry.
Cevotec’s FPP specialists are particularly interested in complex sandwich components with their sophisticated material mix, such as adhesive films, glass fiber and carbon fiber layers. These different materials are used to improve the adhesion and processability of carbon fiber material with the often-used aluminum honeycomb sandwich cores. "The SAMBA Multi production systems, which we are currently developing, enables the automated lay-up of this special multi-material mix in one single system," reports Felix Michl, Cevotec's CTO. In addition to glass fiber fleeces, metal structures and wood cores, also honeycomb cores, solid foams and additional materials have already enjoyed load-adjusted fiber patch reinforcements. Depending on process requirements, this can be done in-line or parallel to line production to optimize cycle times.
SAMBA Multi has parallel feeding units for different materials that are processed in one production system and placed precisely on 3D sandwich cores or preforming tools. By mounting the FPP unit on a linear axis, the concept also enables the production of particularly long and wide components in aerospace applications. Adapted to specific component sizes, we also scaled the patch grippers to DIN-A5 and DIN-A4 size to meet the requirements of common aircraft components. An integrated gripper station enables the exchange of grippers during the process.
"The automated multi-material lay-up of complex sandwich components has an extremely positive effect on process times and thus the production volume," explains Thorsten Groene, Managing Director of Cevotec: "The fiber deposition with controlled pressure and heat enables skipping intermediate compactions and thus reduces process times significantly.” In addition, Groene continues, FPP sustainably reduces recurring production costs in many applications. "Material savings of 20% - 50% play a major role, of course, but automation with FPP often enables further optimization of the overall process.”
Another advantage of SAMBA Multi is the high scalability of the production process. "One and the same process works both for a few hundred and several thousand units per year," explains Michl. These are expected scenarios in the up-and-coming “flying car” industry, for example. " Thanks to the quick-change system and short set-up times, a product change on the system is no problem and economically reasonable: During ramp-up, an FPP system’s capacity can be used for several components. With increasing quantities, the machine park is expanded and the systems become more dedicated. The advantage: the process remains the same – no new product development and no re-qualification of parts are necessary."
"Since both FPP and AFP processes are used in the aerospace industry, the question whether laminate planning for FPP and AFP can be combined in our CAE software ARTIST STUDIO, naturally arose in the course of development. The clear answer: yes, it can be combined," adds Dr. Neven Majic, EVP at Cevotec. Therefore, the FPP specialists are currently extending ARTIST STUDIO by the relevant features for laminate design with endless fiber tapes as used in AFP processes. Seamlessly integrated into ARTIST STUDIO, the new module TAPE ARTIST will also use MOTION ARTIST for machine data generation and process simulation. TAPE ARTIST can also be combined with PATCH ARTIST to one joint module, enabling engineers to design integrated laminates based on AFP and FPP technology.
Like SAMBA Multi, TAPE ARTIST will be presented to the public at leading trade fairs and conferences this fall (Composite Europe, Advanced Engineering, GoCarbon Fiber) and will be commercially available towards the end of the year.
Cevotec successful at JEC World 2019 and joins Fiber Placement Center
“JEC World 2019 show was definitely a success for Cevotec”, states Thorsten Groene, Managing Director of Cevotec.
The main eyecatcher certainly was a demonstrator section of a major component of an engine nacelle structure, made in cooperation with and for SAFRAN Nacelles, demonstrating how Fiber Patch Placement handles multi-material lay-up of an aerospace sandwich component. “These components”, explains Felix Michl, CTO of Cevotec, “in aerospace industry find their main applications in winglets, stabilizers (horizontal and vertical), flight control surfaces, radar domes, aerodynamic fairings and nacelle structures.” All of them have to be lightweight yet resilient to meet the industry’s continuous strive for emissions reduction and greener aircrafts, supported by more efficient structures. In the production of such components, the geometric complexity and the multi-material mix pose a particular challenge.