CompositesWorld

NOV 2018

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NEWS 25 CompositesWorld.com Filament Winding, Reinvented Where is filament winding headed? CW walks through these developments to find out. Multi-filament winding e quest to reduce cycle time has become a major driver of filament winding innovation. Murata Machinery Ltd. (Kyoto, Japan) has achieved this by moving away from conventional single-tow/tape winding, where the fiber feed unit must move along the rotating mandrel multiple times to wind all of the fibers for just one layer. Instead, it has developed a multiple fiber system — what it calls multi-fila- ment winding (MFW) — that simultaneously applies 48-180 tows/fiber inputs. Murata presented its technology in 2015 at the 20th International Conference on Composite Materials (ICCM20, Copenhagen, Denmark) and installed the MFW-48-1200 system at the Institut für Textiltechnik der RWTH Aachen (ITA, Aachen, Germany) in 2017. e system comprises four main components: a creel, a ring-like adaptive nozzle, a rotating mandrel or liner unit and an annular hoop unit (Fig. 1). e MFW-48 creel contains 48 bobbins of fiber. e circular adaptive nozzle (also called an iris) feeds and applies the 48 fiber inputs from the creel onto a rotating mandrel or liner that moves horizontally in and out of the nozzle. e result is similar to braiding in that the fibers/tows cross over each other, but without inducing crimp. e winding angle is deter- mined by the relative speed between the rotational and horizontal movement of the liner/mandrel and its diameter. Four additional fiber feeds may be applied at 90° via the hoop unit. Murata and ITA claim a complete layer can be applied in one pass, resulting in a cycle time 50 times faster than standard winding machines, with a 90% increase in torsional stiffness compared to braided laminates. Having reportedly developed the first machine of this type in Europe, ITA and Murata are now working to characterize the MFA process and begin prototyping applications such as hydrogen storage cylinders for automotive applications. Robotic 3D winding: speed and complexity Robots have been asserting influence on filament winding for some time. When MF Tech was launched in 2004, all of its systems were based on robots. is included the conventional filament winding arrangement where the rotating mandrel is kept in a fixed position and the fiber feed unit moves linearly. MF Tech simply mounted the fiber feed onto a robotic arm, gaining up to eight axes of motion. However, MF Tech also developed an FIG. 1 Multi-filament winding touted as 50 times faster Murata Machinery's MFW-48-1200 simulta- neously winds 48-180 fibers from its creel onto a rotating mandrel in the liner unit, which moves horizontally in and out of the adaptive nozzle. Source | Murata Machinery and Institut für Textiltechnik (ITA) der RWTH Aachen FIG. 2 Robot-enabled flexibility An early adopter of robotic filament winding, MF Tech has developed an unconventional system where the rotating mandrel is manipulated past a stationary fiber feed (creel and orange and black tower at right). Source | MF Tech/CEA Nozzle Creel Hoop Unit Liner/Mandrel Unit

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