Composite Cluster Singapore develops high-volume process for thermoplastic tapes

The concept, which centers on "freespace" manufacturing, builds on market-proven thermoplastic tape placement technology and integrates it with advanced robotics and laser technologies.

Composite Cluster Singapore (CCS) reported on Nov. 19 that it has developed a concept designed to manufacture high-performance composite structures in shorter time and with significantly reduced cost. The concept builds on market-proven thermoplastic tape placement technology and integrates it with advanced robotics and laser technologies. CCS will continue the development in a project jointly with its partners HOPE Technik Pte. Ltd., KUKA Robot Automation (M) Sdn Bhd, SGL Group and TRUMPF Pte. Ltd. Details about the manufacturing process, which thermoplastics will be used and tooling were not revealed, except that it would involve "freespace" manufacturing.

The CCS project team will be lead by Dr. Florian Doetzer, managing director of Composite Cluster Singapore (CCS), an experienced technology manager with previous positions in automotive and aerospace industries. He and his team will be supported by each partners’ specialist engineers in their respective field of expertise: integration and prototyping (HOPE), robotics (KUKA), thermoplastic composite material (SGL) and industrial laser technology (TRUMPF).

“Identifying and supporting innovative, high-growth start-ups is at the heart of our efforts. The success of the project will push the boundaries in materials engineering in Singapore and have disruptive implications in the high-technology based manufacturing for the aerospace, aviation and motoring industries. Partnering with local and international industrial leaders, CCS has assembled a capable team to ensure the project’s quality and eventually bring this groundbreaking solution to the market," says Edwin Chow, executive director for the Innovation and Start-ups Group, Standards, Productivity and Innovation Board (SPRING) Singapore.

“The idea of freespace composite manufacturing — that we are developing further in this project — is certainly pushing the boundaries of what is possible with today’s technology. It is the joint competence of world class project partners that will allow us to achieve something that has never been done before. As bold as the idea is, this is the team to do it. And it will be done in Singapore," says Dr. Florian Doetzer.

A go-to market strategy will target lightweight aviation, space, competition yachts and car racing components. Offering engineering and manufacturing services in the beginning, a licensing concept will be considered for global market growth in collaboration with technology partners SGL Carbon, TRUMPF, KUKA and HOPE Technik.