Automated Preforming, Part 3: Quilted Stratum Process
This is part three of a seven-part series about preforming. For more on this series, click the links below:
Also, don’t miss the printed version of this series:
In this blog, I describe the Quilted Stratum Process (QSP) based on my tour of the pilot production line at Cetim (Nantes, France) and also include 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.
“Our objectives were to reduce waste and weight and to produce optimized, integrated parts at a competitive cost,” says Franck Bordellier, lead QSP development engineer at Cetim, an engineering and advanced manufacturing R&T organization.