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Cygnet Texkimp presents next-generation composites unrolling creel

Appears in Print as: 'Flatline Creel delivers uniform, low tension for high-end carbon fiber market'


Flatline Creel uses low-pressure, low-friction patented pneumatic technology to regulate the torque applied to each position on the creel. 
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Cygnet Texkimp Flatline Creel.

Photo Credit: Cygnet Texkimp

A next-generation fiber unwinding creel that uses patented pneumatic technology to achieve reliable tension has been launched by fiber handling and converting specialist Cygnet Texkimp (Northwich, Cheshire, U.K.), and added to the company’s portfolio of traditional mechanical creels. The Flatline Creel is said to be latest technology to graduate from Cygnet’s U.K.-based Innovation Program, where it has been developed to address the need for precision and uniformity in the high-end carbon fiber prepreg and multi-filament tow market.

According to Chris Furphy, Cygnet Texkimp’s product director for creels, the way in which fiber tows are unwound from the bobbin and fed into downstream technologies is critical to the success of the whole process and the quality of the finished material. When it comes to manufacturing the highest quality carbon fiber prepregs and woven technical fabrics, he says, tensioning and handling are essential considerations. By harnessing the capability of precision pneumatics, Furphy contends that the company’s Flatline Creel retains unparalleled tensioning and handling performance.

The Flatline Creel is essentially a pneumatically-controlled brake to regulate the torque applied to each position on the creel. Using low-pressure, low-friction pneumatic cylinder technology, the creel generate a consistent tension for each fiber tow as it is fed into a range of downstream processes, from prepreg to weaving. The pressure of each precision cylinder is set by a central electronic control system, which modulates the pressure in response to operating conditions. 

A key consideration in the design was that it should not require any mechanical calibration or high level of operational expertise to set up and run the system within the manufacturing facility. Therefore, the pressure and braking force of each cylinder is pre-programmed electronically and set, requiring no onsite calibration, as well as mitigating variation in the manufacturing process.

Further, each Flatline module is formed within a largely enclosed module, which eliminates the potential for fiber debris to enter the system and cause variation of tension. The range of tension the Flatline offers, between 100g and 1000g is also said to be significantly greater than that of a conventional mechanical creel, offering the end user greater flexibility in their processing.

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