CW Blog

This is the third blog in my series on Automated Preforming. It describes the Quilted Stratum Process (QSP) based on my tour of the pilot production line at Cetim (Nantes, France) and also includes a brief section at the end on Cetim's 3D thermoplastic filament winding technology for Class V pressure vessels, referred to as Spide TP.

When development of QSP began in 2013, the goal was to produce load- and weight-optimized multi-oriented, multi-thickness composite parts in one minute. Faster speed would be possible by using thermoplastics vs. thermosets, and would also eliminate wet, chemical processes. Fiber-reinforced thermoplastic tapes and organosheets could be sourced easily or produced in-line and would be easy to handle. They could also be ultrasonically tacked together to produce preforms and then thermoformed very quickly to produce parts with integrated inserts and overmolded plastic ribs, bosses, etc.

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Covestro to provide materials to “Sonnenwagen Aachen” team for solar race


A group of students at RWTH Aachen University and Aachen University of Applied Sciences are working on developing a solar-powered electric car for the World Solar Challenge 2017 from October 8 to 15 in Australia. The approximately 45 junior researchers established the “Sonnenwagen Aachen e.V.” association, with the support of their professors. 

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A new paradigm in airframe construction?

I heard the news, through CW colleague Ginger Gardiner and composites industry and aviation researcher and professor Dr. David Pritchard, that Spanish industrial group MTorres (Torres de Elorz, Navarra, Spain), a major supplier of automated manufacturing equipment for composites, had revealed an entirely new and radically different way to manufacture airframe structure using composites. When I had spoken with the company in March at JEC World in Paris, they said that an announcement would be coming at the upcoming Paris Air Show, but gave no hint of its magnitude.

The company did speak on May 26th with journalists from Madrid’s largest newspaper El Pais during an event at MTorres’ facility in Fuente Alamo, Spain, and unveiled the new technology, which consists of a one-piece, monocoque fuselage that it says requires no rivets or fasteners, nor molds. Developed over the past 6 months by a team of 30 people, including company founder Manuel Torres, project head Sebastián Díaz was quoted in the El Pais article as saying the new fuselage technology “changes the current manufacturing paradigm" of aircraft.  

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