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21st February 2018, San Francisco, CA

Stacking based on continuous carbon fibre tow

Because the process is automated, the cost for producing pre-forms is typically much lower than hand-laid manufacturing. © Seriforge San Francisco-based Seriforge has developed a new Z-axis fibre stitching process which addresses a number of issues in processing advanced multi-ply preforms.

Such composites, the company points out, are more complicated to process than traditional materials like metals, being anisotropic, with different properties in different directions due to their 2D ply layer build-up. They are also not scalable for cost effective mass production and are predominately built up manually and subject to variability in their performance from part to part.

The existing solutions for automating composite preforms are all based on the same 2D ply stacking technology that can be achieved using hand lay-up. What makes the Seriforge process unique is the ability to introduce a continuous carbon fibre tow throughout the entire thickness of the dry pre-form which enhances the performance of the infused laminate.

The Z axis fibre placement technology developed by Seriforge represents a technological leap from the conventional stitching of composite plies. © Seriforge The Z axis fibre placement technology developed by Seriforge represents a technological leap from the conventional stitching of composite plies by achieving:

  • No loops or knots in the tow to create resin pools.
  • No tension in the Z axis fibre so there is no fibre crimping of the X and Y layers.
  • No “knockdown” factor for the X and Y layers.
  • Increased inter-laminar shear of the finished laminate by several orders of magnitude.
  • The ability to apply the Z axis fibre only where needed.
  • Enhanced Z direction performance of the infused laminate.
  • Increased speed of infusion.

Preform cost comparison. © SeriforgeThe Z-axis fibre stitching can be placed only where part design requirements demand it, and unlike other fibre placement systems, a composite designer can choose where Z fibres are needed based on loads, stress and part design.

Because the process is automated, the cost for producing pre-forms is typically much lower than hand-laid manufacturing and allows for net-shape preforms to be created with significantly less material waste.

The parts are more consistent, have physical properties that perform within a tighter tolerance range and enable a designer to utilise a smaller factor of safety in order to achieve similar results to standard 2D laminates.

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