Latest innovation from M.A.i :

Tape laying line for organic sheets and UD tapes - A connection for the future !

Not for the future, but already today fibre-reinforced plastic components are gaining more and more importance in a wide range of applications and areas. Hybrid components made of GFRP/CFRP fabrics have very good mechanical properties while at the same time offering significant weight savings. In aircraft production, the advantages of GFRP/CFRP components have been relied on for much longer, but without much consideration of cycle times and component quantities as well as automated processes.

In order to make the enormous advantages significantly more attractive also for other areas, including the automotive industry, an automated and repeatable cutting and depositing of tapes on base carriers (organic sheets) suitable for large series production is required. Furthermore, fast and flexible changeover possibilities (with regard to processed tape widths and materials) must be available. In the ideal case, only the tape sample to be laid is transferred to a system and a finished fabric made of the desired materials is obtained within a very short time. The number, position and orientation of the tapes is perfectly adapted to the load case of the finished component.

MAi has set itself the task of Development of lightweight construction using fibre-reinforced components towards and developed and built a UD-tape laying machine that exactly described above are fulfilled.

Since March 2016, the plant has been connected to the new materials to Bayreuth and can be inspected there. It was also used for the occasion of a technology day at the NMB trade visitors from various industries from all over Germany and Europe under production conditions.

The system supplied by MAi fulfils the the following specifications:

  • Tape width: 50mm to 165mm
  • Tape length: max. 2100mm
  • Tape Fiber Material: Glass or carbon fiber based tape
  • Maximum clutch size: 1500mm x 1500mm
  • Number of tape layers: 20 layers
  • Cycle time: 2 seconds per strip with 2 tape feeders (expansion stage: 4 tape feeders)
  • Joining process Tape layers: Ultrasonic, min 2 welding spots per strip
  • 4 ultrasonic welding units over the entire fabric size

At the same time two (in the next stage of expansion already four) different tape widths as well as different tape materials can be processed in the line. This already allows a significant reduction in waste of UD-tape and an optimized lay-up for different part geometries.

The data of the tape strips and layers as well as the coordinates of the welding spots to join the tapes together, are of the plant by means of XML file, from which the Widths and lengths of the UD tapes and the rotation of the layers in relation to each other is calculated and transferred to the system control. This creates a Fibre composite scrims which can be used for the most varied part geometries, that insert themselves into an injection or pressing tool and back-inject there lets. This ultimately results in the production of cost-effective, lightweight components that are required today in lightweight construction, especially in the automotive industry.

Since standing still is known to be a retrograde step, we are already working on a further development to reduce the waste of Tapes further reduce and provide flexibility for a wide variety of tapes, carbon- or glass-fibre reinforced components still need to be increased significantly.