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3/4/2019 | 1 MINUTE READ

JEC World 2019 preview: AZL Aachen

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The Aachen Center for Integrative Lightweight Production (AZL) is part of the Composites in Action display at JEC Group (5/D17) where it is featuring its Ultra-Fast Consolidator Machine, which is one of three finalists for the JEC Award 2019 in the category of Industry and Equipment.

The Aachen Center for Integrative Lightweight Production (AZL, Aachen, Germany) is part of the Composites in Action display at JEC Group (5/D17) where it is featuring its Ultra-Fast Consolidator Machine, which is one of three finalists for the JEC Award 2019 in the category of Industry and Equipment. The UItra-Fast Consolidator Machine is said to offer high flexibility and mass production of tailored thermoplastic laminates with reduced scrap. AZL says fully consolidated multi-layer laminates with different fiber directions and minimized scrap (tailored blanks) can be produced in cycle times of less than 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, which AZL says is commonly in the printing industry but has not been used in such a way within composite production. Productivity can be enhanced to more than 500 kg/hr by this piece-flow principle, with carriers moved through multiple application stations that are equipped with multiple tape placement applicators. The new machine is scalable: multiple application stations can be added; for example, for each layer, one station for mass production or for each fiber direction one station with a carrier-conveyor carousel.

This system is a result of an 18-month AZL Joint Partner Project, conducted in 2017-2018 by the research partners AZL Aachen and Fraunhofer IPT Aachen, in cooperation with industrial partner companies including Conbility, Covestro, Engel, Evonik, Fagor Arrasate, Faurecia, Laserline, Mitsui Chemicals, Mubea Carbo Tech, Philips Photonics, SSDT and Toyota. The system will be commercialized by some of the industrial partners in 2019.

AZL is also featuring nine partner institutes of RWTH Aachen University. They will present their latest research and development efforts, including:

  • Research results of AZL, Fraunhofer Institute for Production Technology IPT and Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT
  • The Institute of Plastics Processing (IKV) in Industry and the Skilled Crafts
  • RWTH Aachen University institutes including the Laboratory for Machine Tools and Production Engineering (WZL), the Welding and Joining Institute (ISF), the Institut für Textiltechnik (ITA), the Institute for Automotive Engineering (IKA) and the Institute of Structural Mechanics and Lightweight Design (SLA).

Following companies are sponsoring partners of this booth and will present their latest products and services: Hille Engineering, Maru Hachi, TELENE and Textechno.

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