Addcomposites installs AFP-XS at Compositadour and integrates humm3 flash lamp
French technology platform expands access to composites beyond aerospace, while humm3 offers cost-effective dry fiber and thermoplastic tape placement in addition to CF/epoxy prepregs.
Photo Credit: Addcomposites, Compositadour
Compositadour (Bayonne, France) performs R&D, training and technology transfer in composites, robotics and additive manufacturing. They provide a true platform for experimentation using digital and robotic technologies for the Factory of the Future. Compositadour offers cutting-edge equipment and mobilizes its network of skills to validate and experiment with innovative processes for companies of all sizes.
Compositadour has been working with a vision to expand the implementation of advanced composites manufacturing beyond aerospace, into sectors such as urban mobility, marine, sports, etc. The majority of these non-aerospace industries do not have the resources to access the same cutting-edge technology that is advancing manufacturing and research at the aerospace level.
In order to increase access to advanced composites manufacturing to the wider industry, Compositadour has installed the Addcomposites AFP-XS plug-n-produce platform, which is now in operation. “We are excited to support Compositadour’s efforts in expanding advanced manufacturing in the Nouvelle-Aquitaine Region of France by providing an economical alternative for AFP manufacturing to local SMEs,” explains Pravin Luthada, CEO and co-founder of Addcomposites. “This aligns with our vision of enabling advanced manufacturing of composite structures to companies of all sizes, and we are positive this partnership will lead to the step-change needed to bring the lightweighting revolution to everyday products.”
The AFP-XS system was installed in a preexisting cell on an active robot. The robot is used for ongoing projects, and so it was imperative to have an interchangeable device, using existing safety protocols. Working in collaboration with Compositadour has resulted in a successful integration.
“The AFP-XS is a high-quality, easy-to-use, repeatable system that quickly swaps over from a standard thermoset system to handle dry fibers and thermoplastics, seamlessly integrating with the humm3,” says Compositadour director Françis Sedeilhan. “This technology will enable us to further develop [automated] fiber placement research and local SME activity at Compositadour, and we are excited to collaborate with Addcomposites on future projects.”
The system at Compositadour was designed primarily for thermoset handling using an infrared (IR) heater, but can also be used in conjunction with the humm3 heating technology from Heraeus Noblelight (Cambridge, U.K.) for running dry fiber and high-temperature thermoplastic tapes. “The humm3 has proved itself to be an excellent heating technology for fast and controllable fiber layup,” adds Luthada at Addcomposites. “The combination of high average power, fast control and small physical volume makes it an ideal addition for placing fibers requiring high heat to activate the matrix. As a diffuse, broadband source of energy, the humm3 is also safe to use (no laser safety enclosure is required) and is easily scaled to different heated widths.”
Oven-cured, vacuum-bagged prepregs show promise in production primary structures.
The old art behind this industry’s first fiber reinforcement is explained,with insights into new fiber science and future developments.
A look at the process by which precursor becomes carbon fiber through a careful (and mostly proprietary) manipulation of temperature and tension.