Setforge, 9T Labs collaborate to replace metal part production with composites
Source | 9T Labs
9T Labs (Zurich, Switzerland), a system provider for digital composite production, announced on July 8 its collaboration with metal parts manufacturer Setforge (subsidiary of Farina Group, L’Horme, France) to replace metals with high-performance carbon fiber composites for automotive, aerospace and industrial applications.
Setforge will use 9T Labs’ Additive Fusion Technology — which the company says enables serial production of carbon fiber-reinforced polymer (CFRP) parts with high fiber volume (60%) and low void content (<1%) at a low cost — and its Red Series equipment to create the composite parts, and further the material’s market opportunities. Additionally, with its partners, Institut de Soudure and the research institute Arts et Métiers, Setforge is said to be working on the development of a new process, called EPITHER, that aims to produce structural composite parts at high volumes to diversify the company’s historic production.
“Lightweight and sustainability are becoming more and more important,” notes Damien Felix, head of the EPITHER program. “As an innovative company, we need to explore new technologies for the future of digital series production. With 9T Labs’ approach, we can reduce part weight and production costs.”
According to 9T Labs, its Red Series technology will enable Setforge to set up a high-volume production solution for composite parts. The software subscription includes hardware, Fibrify software and application engineering. The Fibrify software suite is said to use integrated FEA tools to help quickly define tailored fiber designs optimized per load case, avoiding less-efficient black metal designs. It also allows structural validation of parts they are printed, reducing iterations and streamlining development. Felix also notes that the software makes the process of designing composite parts more accessible to companies that have not been working with composites prior.
“The Red Series subscription provides us with flexibility in process simulation and digital prototyping as well as the potential to extend our patented process to high series production of carbon composites” says Felix. “We needed an additional technology to reach our goals. We have found the right level of mastery in both additive manufacturing and post consolidation with Red Series and the support of the 9T Labs team. This important step will allow us to substitute metals and scale the production of structural composites to thousands of pieces at a cost-competitive structure.”
As composites take a larger part (and form larger parts) in the aerospace structures sector, it’s not just a make-it-or-break-it proposition.
Yes, advanced forms are in development, but has the technology progressed enough to make the business case?
Options for adding color have been around for decades, but new products are hoping to up the ante and open new markets.