09:30 Wednesday 23rd October 2019

Flexible Automation for Complex Composites

Composites have been used extensively in motorsports since the late 1970’s. Although vehicle design has evolved dramatically since then, the industry has seen limited advancement in production technologies regarding composite part manufacturing. This is especially true of complex carbon fiber parts, where design cycles are time-consuming and manual manufacturing is slow and expensive. If a process came along that could slash design cycle time and improve part quality, while providing flexible and fully automated complex composite layup capabilities, it could open up new and exciting possibilities for an industry that continuously designs, tests and modifies its parts. This is exactly what Fiber Patch Placement (FPP) has set out to deliver. FPP technology allows manufacturers to create complex 3D preforms, fully automated, removing cumbersome steps in the process, such as cutting, kitting and manual layup. By additively placing unidirectional fiber patches on a 3D tool in precise positions and orientations with the help of robotics, FPP production systems create fiber preforms in record time. In addition, switching from one part to the next in production is as simple as changing the machine program and tool – in less than 10 minutes. Parts are designed with an FPP-specific CAD/CAM software, allowing engineers to design a patch laminate, generate machine data and produce a preform significantly faster than with current methods. Simply put, Cevotec’s Fiber Patch Placement technology offers the first automation option that makes practical and economic sense to the motorsports community.

Christian Fleischfresser, Cevotec