NOV 2018


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NOVEMBER 2018 24 CompositesWorld Filament winding, reinvented » Filament winding, one of the oldest composite manu- facturing processes, was used to produce solid rocket motor cases after World War II. By the early '60s and '70s, commercial winding machines were also being used to fabricate fiber-rein- forced pipes, pressure vessels and streetlight poles. Traditional filament winding impregnates fibers in a resin bath just prior to application on a rotating mandrel (tool) while keeping them in tension. ough wet winding is still popular, processes have also been developed to use prepreg tapes, towpreg or dry fibers, the latter serving as preforms for liquid molding processes. By varying the angle of fiber or tape place- ment, filament winding can produce tailored laminates to effi- ciently meet a range of loads. Typically, no further compaction is needed thanks to the tension maintained on the fibers/tapes. Well-suited to automation, filament winding is fast, cost- effective and creates lightweight, high-performance struc- tures. It is now used to produce a range of composite struc- tures including golf club and drive shafts, yacht masts, oars/ paddles, bicycle rims and forks, small aircraft fuselages, space- craft structures, car wheels and pressure vessels, the latter ranging from firefighter oxygen bottles and liquid propane gas (LPG) tanks to cryogenic fuel tanks for spacecraft measuring 5-10m in diameter and 10-15m long. Wind turbine manu- facturer ENERCON (Aurich, Germany) is using automated filament winding systems installed in 2016 by Roth Composite Machinery (Steffenberg, Germany) to produce the shorter, inner sections for the segmented blades used in the E-115, E-126 and E-141 turbines. Over the last few years, increased use of robotics and the latest digital technologies have dramatically increased filament winding production speeds and product complexity. Examples include Cygnet Texkimp's (Northwich, UK) high-speed, 3D winding machine, designed to produce complex layup parts that vary in both cross-section and shape. Similarly, filament winding specialist MF Tech (Argentan, France) is developing "very complex wound carbon fiber structures with ribs, beams and machined features for automotive applications," says co-founder Emmanuel Flouvat. e company also is combining filament winding (FW) with automated fiber placement (AFP) and other processes, as is turnkey system supplier MIKROSAM (Prilep, Macedonia), which introduced its own hybrid AFP/FW work cell in 2017. Winding also is being hybridized with 3D printing. Composites engineering firm CIKONI (Stuttgart, Germany) uses a robotic process to wet-wind carbon fiber/epoxy onto 3D printed plastic, composite or metal cores. Generative 3D winding — with a robot but without a core — is being developed by Daimler (Stuttgart, Germany). By Ginger Gardiner / Senior Writer Robots and digital technology deliver speed plus larger, more complex parts, while generative 3D winding obviates mandrels and waste for automotive applications. "FibreTEC 3D" This robotic gripper for automotive assembly weighs 50% of a standard aluminum version. It is made with the FibreTEC3D process, a zero-waste system that winds carbon fiber tow impregnated with epoxy around aluminum pins. Source | Daimler AG

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