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23rd August 2019, Krefeld

ZSK to showcase advances in TFP

E2 wheel maximise the advantages of carbon fibre. © ESE

E2 wheel maximise the advantages of carbon fibre. © ESE

At the forthcoming Composites Europe exhibition in Stuttgart, Germany, from September 10-12, ZSK will be presenting its HV-TFP technology for high-volume tailored fibre placement on a technical embroidery machine.

HV-TFP technology, developed in cooperation with Nobrak of France, allows two or more rovings to be laid down simultaneously.

An enthusiastic user of ZSK’s TFP technology is ESE Carbon Company, headquartered in Miami, Florida, which has developed one-piece, one-cure, carbon fibre wheel and issued patents relating to its manufacturing process.

“For this application TFP is a perfect match – the more complex the design is from a layup and engineering perspective, the more substantial the benefits that TFP will allow you to materialise,” says CEO Carlos Hermida.

ESE Carbon Company first established its partnership with ZSK by investing in a sample machine to better understand the capability of the TFP technology. This allowed its team to become familiar with the EPCwin digitising software, along with understanding the benefits and limitations of the stitched TFP technology, prior to ordering a first production machine.

Benefits

The manufacturing benefits found using the ZSK technology are a 50% reduction of pieces that make up the wheel, 50% reduction in layup times, an improved layup quality, optimised carbon fibre orientation, a carbon fibre waste reduction and overall cost reduction.

From the curvature of the spokes, to the tactical placement of the fibres, all design aspects of E2 are strategic and with purpose. © ESE

From the curvature of the spokes, to the tactical placement of the fibres, all design aspects of E2 are strategic and with purpose. © ESE

Carbon fibre waste has been reduced from 50% with traditional carbon fibre fabrics to just 5% with TFP, and by consolidating the supply chain for carbon fibres, substantial savings on raw materials have also been achieved.

One of the most significant cost savings arises from the layup improvements. The reduction of layup times not only reduces the labour cost of the part itself, but makes the use of moulds more efficient, as reduced layup times allows for more parts per mould to be made each day. The number of moulds required is reduced and this has a huge impact on the overall investment costs per wheel design.

A reduction in the number of carbon fibre plies needed for a design, as well as more control in how they are formed, brings considerable improvement in the quality of layups.

Analytical testing and CT scans prove that it has helped ESE reduce resin rich areas and therefore improve mechanical properties of the wheels.

Unlimited

“With traditional fabrics, the orientation of your carbon fibre plies is limited,” Hermida explains. “On the other hand, with TFP, there is almost unlimited ability to create straight or curved patterns in any direction. This flexibility allows you to design plies that are optimise to manage loads and stresses much more effectively than possible with traditional fabrics.”

Because carbon fibre and resin have different rates of thermal expansion as the carbon composite heats and cools, the end may result in residual stresses and cracks without proper engineering and design. The design possibilities that TFP offers have enabled the ESE engineers to customise the carbon fibre direction, providing a reduction of residual stresses and risk of cracks.

HV-TFP allows two or more rovings to be laid down simultaneously. © ZSK

HV-TFP allows two or more rovings to be laid down simultaneously. © ZSK

“I continue to be amazed with ZSK and TFP technology,” Hermida says. “There is no question that this technology will be widely adopted within the carbon fibre industry over the coming years. As awareness increases, I see TFP becoming much more prevalent within our marketplace.”

In addition to TFP, ESE has added a five-Axis CNC precision machining team and advanced structural composite parts capabilities, along with robotics to automate its production with multiple autoclaves all located at its production site in in Georgia.

The benefits of these investments will be seen for the first time in the company’s new E2 range of one-piece, one-cure all carbon fibre composite automotive wheels which are scheduled for launch before the end of 2019.

ZSK’s technology will be showcased at stand F53 in Hall at Composites Europe next month.

www.technical-embroidery.com

www.esecarbon.com

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