NOV 2018


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NOVEMBER 2018 26 CompositesWorld FEATURE / Filament Winding unconventional arrangement where the rotating mandrel is carried by a robot, which moves it past a stationary fiber feeding unit (Fig. 2, p. 25). is system could pick up a liner, wind a pressure vessel onto it and then place the wound tank into a curing oven. More recently, filament winding systems have been developed where both the mandrel and fiber feed may be moved and rotated by robots. ese robots cooperate to increase the range and acces- sibility of fiber winding, enabling larger structures as well as more complex fiber layups and shapes. Speed and complexity were goals for Cygnet Texkimp's develop- ment of its robotic, high-speed 3D winding machine. e system combines rotation and fiber feed into a single mechanism that is robotically moved along the liner, mandrel or core, winding as it goes. Based on a 9-axis robotic winder conceived by University of Manchester (UK) professor Prasad Potluri, the Cygnet 3D winder uses two counter-rotating fiber application rings mounted together on the end of a robotic arm. As the arm maneuvers the rings so that a complex-shaped mandrel is passed through their center, fiber is fed from eight bobbins on each ring — that number is scalable — and is wound onto the mandrel (Fig. 3). "e inspiration for this was the F-35 [fighter jet] inlet duct," explains Cygnet Texkimp managing director Luke Vardy. at roughly 3m-long, complex part transitioned from a large, round cross-section to a smaller, square shape while tracing through a moderate, elbow-like curve. "is machine can match that complexity, offering more degrees of freedom than a stationary winder," he adds. "e mandrel can be whatever shape you want." Cygnet's 3D winder is also designed for speed, winding 24K or 48K dry carbon fiber at more than 1 kg/min, "and creating a multi- axial laminate," says Vardy. "We can vary the angle of the fiber, winding 30° on one ply, -30° on another ply and then we can apply 0° by adding another ring." (Note: at ring would function like the hoop unit in Murata's MFW system.) Vardy says the winder is scalable, suitable for winding a car wheel or yacht mast, "yet we can make it big enough to wind a bridge arch, whole wind turbine blade or aircraft fuselage. It's simply a matter a putting the robot on a rail and sizing the rings appropriately." Cygnet has also developed a traditional robotic filament winder from this technology, replacing the 3D winding head with a driven creel mounted to the robot, which controls fiber feed and tension to a high level of accuracy. Vardy explains that whether the creel contains four or 50 positions, each can be tensioned independently. "We can manage the machine speed to deliver higher resolution where you need smaller- scale features or complex geometries." FIG. 3 Robotic 3D winding: speed and complexity Comprising two counter-rotating fiber application rings moved by a robot arm along the part being wound, Cygnet's 3D winder was designed for scalable, speedy production of complex shapes, able to wind 24K or 48K carbon fiber at a rate of 1 kg/min. Source | Cygnet Texkimp FIG. 4 New type of joining Aluminum-framed robotic grippers used in auto assembly (yellow structures in example at Magna, top photo) can be lighter with components made by 3D winding carbon fiber and epoxy to join snap-together, 3D printed plastic modules or around pins printed on a plastic mandrel (bottom left). CAD analysis converts the tension loaded areas into fiber paths for winding around plastic or metal (shown in black, bottom right). Source |Magna International and Cikoni

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