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27th February 2018, Lindau

Dornier machines and system solutions at JEC

Dornier, a leading German specialist in weaving machines for technical textiles, will present its Composite Systems business unit at the JEC World composite materials exhibition in Paris, next week. The company will present its customised equipment for manufacturing semi-finished composite fibre products, including fabrics, tapes and organic sheets.

For more than 40 years, weaving machines by Lindauer Dornier have been used for processing high-performance fibres like carbon. But with the innovations of its Composite Systems division, the family business now also covers a large portion of the semi-finished goods production spectrum for FRP components as well.

P1 roving weaving machine. © Dornier

“At the JEC, we are going to demonstrate that the expertise we have acquired over decades in building machinery for producing semi-finished goods has also been applied to production equipment,” commented Dr Josef Klingele, Product Manager for Dornier Composite Systems.

Weaving organic sheets from tapes

Dornier P1 roving weaving machines are already used to produce carbon fabrics for aircraft wings, car parts and medical technology. But the machine builder also serves the very vibrant tape market with its own production plant. The system is capable of producing dry and fully impregnated tapes in widths up to 600 mm and at speeds up to 30 m/min, the manufacturer reports.

Based on a special impregnation unit, the tapes now are impregnated with thermoplastic matrix material inline – previously this had to be done in a second step. The uniform and controlled alignment of the fibres for the impregnation process is realized by a complex spreading mechanism, also developed by Dornier. “We obtain very high spreading values,” noted Dr Klingele.

3D rapier weaving machine. © Dornier

The finished tapes then can be further processed on Dornier’s tape weaving machine. This, for example, allows to produce woven organic sheets more economically than before, because fibres and plastic no longer have to be processed separately in an expensive step to make the organic sheets. The advantages for semi-finished goods and component manufacturers thus are said to be shorter cycle times and lower production costs.

Machines and systems to customer specifications

The experts at Dornier can draw on decades of experience in developing customised systems when building machinery for semi-finished goods. “Composite components are subject to enormous constraints; no two machines for manufacturing semi-finished goods are the same,” explained Dr Klingele.

Tape weaving machine. © Dornier

Producers of components, fibres or polymers often rely on in-house developments and modified machines. But they usually don’t have the system building experience they need. As they reach a dead end, they contact the machine builders, who can contribute more than just their CE certification expertise: “We have been building machines and systems with very high manufacturing depth for over 65 years – this vast knowledge cannot be acquired overnight,” he added.

Tape production line. © Dornier

In order to meet customers’ requirements, Dornier has established a technology centre where specific system concepts for manufacturing semi-finished goods are tested, and customer trials are conducted – for example, on 3D weaving machines, which weave in all three spatial directions. The machine builder invests 8% of its annual turnover in R&D, with these units offering its pioneering response to the trend towards lightweight textiles for mobility. “In the future, 3D fabrics will become indispensable elements in cars and aircraft,” concluded Dr Klingele.

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