Cygnet Texkimp launches robotic 3D winding machine

Originally titled 'Robotic 3D winding machine'

Cygnet Texkimp Ltd. (Northwich, Cheshire, UK) has launched what it says is the world’s first robotic, high-speed, 3D winding machine capable of making curved composite parts.

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Cygnet Texkimp Ltd. (Northwich, Cheshire, UK) has launched what it says is the world’s first robotic, high-speed, 3D winding machine capable of making curved composite parts. The 3D Winder is a robot-mounted rotary winding machine capable of creating complex parts with a non-linear axis and with varying cross-sections. The company reports it is able to produce parts measuring up to 10m in length and with a profile of up to 500 mm across. The full scale of the parts the system is capable of producing is said to be limited only by the application. The machine is designed to lay down multiple tows of up to 50,000 filaments at once and trials have shown it has the potential to wind a single-aisle aircraft spar in a few minutes. It can create a wide range of components from composite fuel pipes to structural beams and aircraft fuselages for the automotive and aerospace markets. The technology was developed as part of Cygnet Texkimp’s KTP (Knowledge Transfer Partnership) with specialists from the Northwest Composites Centre at the University of Manchester (UK). It is based on the 9-axis robotic winding concept originally developed by Professor Prasad Potluri, head of the Robotics and Textile Composite Group and director of research at the Northwest Composites Centre. Instead of feeding fibers onto a rotary mandrel, Cygnet Texkimp’s winding machine uses a rotating mechanism that moves around a static mandrel and winds fibers in to create curved preforms. Dry fibers are wound at high speeds and laid up to build 3D structures that are subsequently infused with resin. Prepreg tape can also be used. The static mandrel may become part of the final composite structure, or removed to leave a hollow core.

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