AZL production system wins JEC Innovation Award

AZL’s UItra-Fast Consolidator Machine, winner of the JEC Innovation Award 2019 for Industry/Equipment, will be the subject of further research into commercialization of the machine.


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AZL Aachen GmbH (Aachen, Germany) won the 2019 JEC Innovation Award in the “Industry/Equipment” category for the development of its machine system “Ultra-Fast Consolidator Machine.” This machine system is a result of an 18-month AZL joint partner project, conducted from 2017 to 2018 in collaboration with Fraunhofer IPT (Aachen, Germany) and industrial partner companies including Conbility, Covestro, Engel, Evonik, Fagor Arrasate, Faurecia SE, Laserline, Mitsui Chemicals, Mubea Carbo Tech, Philips Photonics, SSDT and Toyota.

The UItra-Fast Consolidator Machine is said to offer both high flexibility and mass production of tailored thermoplastic laminates with reduced scrap. Fully consolidated multi-layer laminates with different fiber directions and minimized scrap (tailored blanks) reportedly can be produced in cycle times below 5 seconds. This individualized mass production is accomplished by a combination of laser-assisted tape placement with in-situ consolidation and a piece-flow principle, used in the printing industry but until now not used in such a way within composite production. The achievable productivity is said to be enhanced to more than 500 kg/hr by this piece-flow principle with carriers moved through multiple application stations equipped with multiple tape placement applicators. The machine is also scalable, enabling multiple application stations to be added.

The system will be commercialized by some of the industrial partners in 2019. The real machine setup was presented at the AZL booth during JEC World 2019.

A follow-up project has recently begun and is still open to to collaboration with industrial partners. This project comprises a further upscale of the machine system as well as a preparation of the commercialization by long-term durability tests and further process optimizations using different tape materials.

See all of this year’s JEC Innovation Awards winners here.

This post is courtesy of the CompositesWorld and AZL Aachen GmbH media partnership.

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