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16th February 2018, Aachen

Two AZL partners further commercialisation efforts

The two AZL partners Conbility and Fraunhofer IPT, Aachen, started their long-term cooperation for the further development and for the commercialisation of Fraunhofer´s tape-placement and tape winding systems with in-situ-consolidation by the usage of laser or IR heat sources.

With this cooperation, Conbility makes 25 years of expertise in special machine development of tape placement systems of the Fraunhofer Institute for Production Technology IPT commercially available. Conbility offers two different tape processing systems available in different configurations.

PrePro 2D machine system for tape placement of tailored blanks and laminates with in-situ consolidation. © Fraunhofer IPT

The PrePro 2D machine system allows for the automated tailored tape placement of UD laminates and which can be used for subsequent thermoforming or as stiffening structures in injection molding processes. The machine comprises a rotating and translational table, which is moved relatively to the applicator station. The table is scalable according to the requirements of customers. Standard table diameters are 1,200 mm or 2,000 mm. The applicator station can be equipped with a single or with multiple spool applicators. Because of the large process area, a 9 kW IR heater is used for the in-situ-consolidation process. 

Three in one

The award-winning PrePro 3D tape placement and winding applicator is available as modular product with decentral control system (including closed-loop control of energy input into the processing zone) for the “plug-in” implementation in existing robot systems or machine systems by standard interfaces for the communication with the master control system. Conbility provides the single applicator, as well as turn-key ready systems, including the robot and handling systems.

PrePro 3D applicator for modular integration into existing production systems. © Fraunhofer IPT

“Unique selling point of the PrePro 3D system is its multifunctional range of usage: it accomplishes laser-assisted thermoplastic tape placement, IR-assisted thermoset prepreg placement and dry fibre placement: Three technologies included in one single modular system,” the company explains.

During the JEC World in Paris next month, Conbility will present its new VCSEL Tape Placement and Winding Applicator, developed in cooperation with Fraunhofer IPT and Philips Photonics at the AZL Composites in Action area.

VCSEL Laser Systems

This applicator uses an integrated VCSEL Laser System as heat source which has been developed by Philips Photonics. This tape placement and winding applicator can also be integrated as modular “plug-in” system into industrial jointed-arm and linear gantry robots in variable manufacturing cells.

VCSEL Tape Placement and Winding Applicator. © Conbility GmbH

Using the new VCSEL Laser as heat source (VCSEL: Vertical-Cavity Surface Emitting Laser) is said to lead to significant lower investment and process cost in comparison to other laser systems. Furthermore, the VCSEL laser system can accomplish controllable in-process adjustments of the laser-spot geometry, as well as the intensity distribution within the spot size during the process for the first time.

The new system with 2 kW laser power and 10 separate emission zones, which can be controlled separately, will be shown at JEC World in Paris 2018 as new product of Conbility.

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