CompositesWorld

SEP 2018

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SEPTEMBER 2018 52 CompositesWorld FEATURE / Welding Thermoplastic Composites Set the bar lighter. Innovation for lightweight, space saving interiors. m Labor and cost savings m Increased passenger comfort m Design fl exibility We deliver solutions to your entire value chain. aerospace.basf.com FIG. 2 CF resistance welding for rear pressure bulkhead Premium AEROTEC's (Augsburg, Germany) Airbus A320 rear pressure bulkhead demonstrator comprises eight CF/PPS sections resistance welded using carbon fiber for the resistive element instead of a metal mesh. Developed by DLR's Center for Lightweight Production Technology (ZLP) in Augsburg, the welding process employs AEROTEC's curved metallic "welding bridge" which rotates to apply necessary pressure along each of the eight weldlines. Source | Premium AEROTEC / DLR Center for Lightweight Production Technology AEROTEC demonstrator, we extended the weldline length to 1.5m." ZLP chose a resistive element made from carbon fiber vs. legacy stainless steel mesh. "For induction welding, it's difficult to get the temper- ature and energy where you want it and not elsewhere in the part," Kupke asserts. "For resis- tance welding, this is inherently solved, but the downside, up to now, has been that the resistor remains in the part." Using a carbon fiber resistor alleviates this disadvantage. e basic method, however, remains the same. "You apply a voltage and put pressure on both parts to get good consolidation," he adds. "For smaller parts, the robotic end effector applies the pressure, but for larger parts you would need a jig to provide clamping pressure." e jig for the A320 rear pressure bulkhead is a curved metal "welding bridge" built by Premium AEROTEC (Fig. 2). It rotates to position above each of the eight weldlines and applies the necessary pressure via 10 pneumatic cylinders inside. In addition to PPS, Kupke's DLR ZLP team has validated that this process also works for carbon fiber fabric/PEEK. "If you can use PEEK, you can

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