Aerospace Manufacturing previews some of the companies demonstrating their latest products and innovations at this year’s JEC World 2019 in Paris.
We begin our exhibitor round-up at JEC World with Airtech Advanced Materials Group (hall 5A, stand G39). During the show, Airtech will present vacuum bagging efficiencies and tooling to meet production increases.
The company says it is developing innovative materials and processes to enable larger scale, higher rate production, reduced touch labour and reduced waste. Technologies in focus include: ComboTech, Filmcote, Engineered Kitting, Toolmaster, Heatech and Ultra High temperature materials.
Engineered kitting of process materials has been a major enabler for large scale, high rate production. Airtech says it is the only manufacturer with the capability and experience to take complex designs from concept to reality in a viable, timely process. New Ultra High temperature vacuum bagging materials for thermoplastic processes will be presented including new Fast Tack HT.
Anaglyph (hall 5, stand G101) will demonstrate the latest version of its hand-layup ply placement technology PlyMatch. PlyMatch uses augmented reality to show the live combined images of actual and target ply outlines and fibre orientation details on a monitor, so that the two can be matched by the operator. PlyMatch is used for the accurate placement of plies in hand lay-up manufacture of composite parts, as well as for monitoring and validation of automated methods.
Aro PR and Marketing (hall 6, stand S50), specialists in raising the profile of engineering, scientific and composites companies, will be showcasing its awards applications service at JEC. With a number of composites awards opening for 2019, Aro’s awards application service advises businesses on which awards to enter and how to stand out. The Aro team will be available at the show to talk you through its awards application service as well as your other PR and marketing needs; from media relations and social media to copywriting, web design and SEO.
Moving on, Ascent Aerospace (hall 5, stand Q11) will debut its online mould material selection guide. The digital guide was designed to capitalise on Ascent’s experience in producing moulds for composite parts to provide users with an on-demand resource for tooling guidance.
Visitors are invited to Ascent’s stand where they will get immediate recommendations. They start by inputting their requirements – size, curing details, production cycles, etc. – and will be guided to an appropriate tooling material for their manufacturing process. Onsite mould experts will be available to have additional discussions which build upon the guide’s recommendation.
The guide incorporates input from countless tool design and manufacturing engineers at Ascent’s Coast Composites facility, where the company has produced many of the largest and most complex moulds for aircraft and space programmes. The Ascent stand will also feature two demonstration tools, including a 6’ scale replica of a composite mould for a nacelle. The second demo tool will be Ascent’s patented HyVarC hybrid Invar and composite mould.
Elsewhere, bigHead (hall 5, stand M70) will launch its latest innovation ‘Lean Bonding’ which removes many of the frustrations and difficulties in fastening lightweight composites and thin metals. The result of a multi-year collaboration with Cranfield University that was co-funded by Innovate UK, Lean Bonding has involved a number of leading technology partners in the UK, France and Germany.
bigHead focuses on the elimination of the difficulties in fastening lightweight composites and thin metal materials that cannot be welded, riveted or clinched. Lean Bonding is said to be a fast, lean and automated way to bond fasteners onto composites. The solution consists of a bonding fastener pre-loaded with a dry adhesive film. This combination removes any need for separate adhesive storage, handling or dispensing. The fastener is bonded onto the surface in seconds, without any damage to, or penetration of, the material. The combination of pre-applied adhesive and accurate process control ensures consistent bond line thicknesses and repeatable bond quality. Rapid green strength enables immediate part handling and minimises work in progress. The entire process can be automated on a small or large scale.
In the next hall, Bindatex (hall 6, stand S50) will unveil its specialist processes and cutting services at JEC World 2019. The company says it has vast experience of cutting composite carbon and glass fibre prepreg materials in diverse formats including unidirectional (UD) tapes and traverse wound spools; thermoplastic and thermoset carbon fibre prepreg; woven fabrics; multi-axial fabrics and non-woven materials.
CGTech (hall 5, stand Q49) will demonstrate how advanced programming strategies and simulation can lead to better composite parts. The company will also demonstrate Composites V8.1.2, the latest version of VERICUT Composite Programming (VCP) and VERICUT Composite Simulation (VCS).
CGTech’s Composites V8.1.2 release of VCP and VCS features a completely redefined Graphical User Interface (GUI), enhanced suite of programming and analysis tools, and redefined methodology through the use of the powerful new Laminate Manager.
With more information available than ever before, part programmers can generate and export part statistics directly from VCP. CGTech will also exhibit VERICUT 8.2, a leading CNC machine simulation, verification and optimisation software that enables users to eliminate the process of manually proving-out NC programs.
Meanwhile, CMS (hall 5, stand Q41) will promote its extensive range of 5-axis CNC machining centres for high speed machining of composite and aluminium machining with emphasis on recent developments including the Ethos K – Compact 5-axis CNC machine centre with large capacity designed by CMS to meet the most challenging of machining requirements. Its design, incorporating a monolithic structure with balanced dynamics, high acceleration rates and inherent structural stiffness, delivers the optimum in terms of material removal rates, contouring precision and levels of positional accuracy and repeatability.
Recent developments to CMS’ Antares machine include the introduction of full-flood coolant capability, optional longer Y axis travel of 2,800mm and the introduction of the HX5 rotary axes unit with fork design and 20kW synchronous spindle. An ultrasonic cutting attachment can be easily installable on new CMS 5-axis machining centres to provide high-speed cutting of core materials. A specially-designed toolholder and automatically interchangeable ultrasonic stack is controlled in continuous 6-axis motion to cut the most complex 3D shapes with no noise, dust or debris. Combined with standard rotating milling tools, this solution provides full flexibility in a single machine.
CMS is also developing the Kreator, a range of innovative large-sized hybrid 3D printing/milling machines. The new system will be available in several configurations and sizes, to cover a variety of industrial needs, mainly targeted toward the manufacture of prototypes and special parts. The range of materials used by Kreator includes ABS, PA and high-performance polymers, mixed with short fibre carbon fibre and glass fibre to provide 40% fibre content.
Check out Czech-based CompoTech’s (hall 6, stand E57) innovative composite process and structure for manufacturing an aileron for the new L-39NG trainer jet produced by Aero Vodochody Aerospace. The process enables nearly all production steps to be automated with no requirement for sandwich core structure or secondary bonding. The result is an axially and torsional stiff construction with excellent fatigue properties without the risk of delamination to the outer skin and at the trailing edge.
The innovation is in both the process; applying of robot assisted filament winding and laying for automated production of wing structures, and the structure, moving away from traditional moulded skin bonded to a bulkhead. The box beams together form the profile of the wing section. Before curing, with the tooling still in place, the outer layers are wound thus consolidating the internal beams and forming the shape of the aileron. The outer surface is then pressed with a flexible vacuum mould at room temperature. The part is then cured in one step and does not need secondary bonded parts.
Having the outer skin fibres continuously around the whole structure increases the overall structural integrity. Combined with the fact that that there is no core material or secondary bonding required the homogenous structure has less risk of delamination. Having undergone simulated load and pressure tests the part was used for the L-39NG’s first flight late in December 2018. The manufacturing process, being automated, can be licenced and installed on site or according to a customer’s requirement. This can be achieved with CompoTech’s technology support and without the need for multiple processes and the specific skills required for a composite manual labour workforce.
Custom machine builder, Cygnet Texkimp (hall 5, stand L62) will demonstrate its new filament winding technology at JEC. The fibre converting specialist will mark the launch of its 4-axis filament winder by showcasing the full, production-scale machine at its stand. Its launch comes two years after Cygnet Texkimp brought to market the world’s first robotic 3D winding machine, the 3D Winder, to create complex composite parts in high volumes and at high speeds. It’s also a year since the launch of the company’s robotic filament winding machine.
In the same hall, DK Holdings (hall 5, stand C75) will showcase its range of stock and custom-made tooling, developed to accommodate cutting, grinding, drilling, countersinking, counterboring and routing applications. Highly concentrated diamonds, bonded by electroplating, are utilised to give the customer maximum product performance. These diamond bonded products are manufactured in the UK by DK Holdings in the form of tools such as saw blades, routers, burrs, bandsaws, holesaws, countersinks, counterbores, twist drills, surface planers and backface cutters. The company also offers an electroplated diamond strip and replate service which includes the re-machining of the blank if necessary, to bring the product back to original specification.
With the goal of identifying a new method to build complex composite parts quickly and efficiently, the team of Evonik Industries (hall 5A, stand J40), Composite Technology Centre (an Airbus Company), and the German Aerospace Centre (DLR), have conducted a study that combined rigid core material for sandwich design with an automated preform infusion RTM production process. A study concludes that there are convincing cost and efficiency advantages in using rigid structural foam in automated high-volume production of geometrically complex sandwich design composites. The study not only confirmed the successful combination of lightweight Rohacell rigid foam core and automation processes, but also developed a quality concept that ensures a reliable process with no need for additional quality NDI steps in between. Rohacell was proven to be a highly stable material that can be easily moved and accurately positioned every time using a robotic arm.
Imetrum (hall 6, stand N4) a leader in the field of camera-based, non-contact precision measurement will be demonstrating its measurement capability in the SME Village, throughout the show. Visitors will get the opportunity to discover the latest addition to the UVX range – the 300 series - which is due to be launched in June 2019. The UVX 300 series takes into consideration out-of-plane movement, which is essential in material testing, and ensures Imetrum continues to lead the way in non-contact video extensometry.
METYX Group (hall 6, stand J6) will showcase its TYCOR fibre reinforced core sheet material, now produced by METYX USA. The addition of TYCOR strengthens METYX’s high performance technical textile product offering to North American customers looking for lightweight composite material solutions.
TYCOR is a dry fibre and foam core, drapable, sandwich preform which achieves its final end use properties though the vacuum infusion process, such as VARTM. TYCOR fibre reinforced cores provide design engineers and convertors with an alternative reinforcement material to balsa and conventional PVC foam cores.
During JEC World, METYX Group will also be promoting its complete range of RTM, multiaxial and woven glass and carbon fabrics and the kitting service for technical fabrics, preforms, cores and vacuum consumables, alongside plug and mould tooling, engineering and laboratory testing and customer support services that benefit the needs of manufacturers.
In the same hall, Macedonian 6-axis filament winding, AFP/ATL robotic and gantry machine and automated production specialists, Mikrosam (hall 6, stand D51) says it has developed an automated process for fabrication of thermoplastic composites without the use of any moulds or tools.
Mikrosam used its advanced AFP and ATL systems to create an integrated manufacturing cell with dual robots working in tandem: one robot lays up thermoplastic UD tape, another robot acts as a tool. The movements of the robots are precise and coordinated to obtain spatial 3D in-situ consolidation. The integration is controlled using Mikrosam's advanced simulation, control and automation software MikroPlace and MikroAutomate which allows for coordination of multiple robots in a single cell to produce a composite part.
The Multi-Robot system – a patent-pending innovation – produced 3D composite parts – flat, spherical and bathtub shapes – in-situ consolidated without an autoclave. The systems use a laser with precise temperature and angle control, and a closed-loop feedback with custom thermal models for thermoplastic samples with better mechanical properties. It leverages the advances in Mikrosam’s thermoplastics layup from many development projects with tier one aerospace suppliers over the past couple of years.
Exhibiting at JEC World for the very first time, Sharp & Tappin Technology (hall 6, stand B84), a precision engineering company based in the UK’s West country, will be making the most of the exhibition as a platform to launch its highly regarded Compcut range of composite machining solutions to the wider European market.
At JEC World, the company will highlight its Compcut 200 model a compact ‘entry level’ unit, which has proved extremely popular across the UK with R&D facilities, universities and test centres, offering very affordable access to an easy to use though inherently sophisticated and robust plate saw. To underpin the company’s confidence in its composite plate saws’ performance - a Compcut 200 unit will be working on stand throughout the show cutting samples across a wide range of composite materials.
Thermwood (hall 6, stand P50d) says it offers both 3- and 5-axis CNC machining centres ideally suited for the production, fabrication and trimming of composites and other advanced materials. These applications range from machining patterns and moulds/plugs to trimming and machining production products for various industries.
Thermwood also offers a Large Scale Additive Manufacturing (LSAM) system for 3D printing reinforced thermoplastic composite materials for producing industrial tooling, moulds, patterns, masters, plugs and fixtures. The LSAM can perform both the additive and subtractive functions on the same machine. This approach, called near-net shape, uses carbon fibre-reinforced thermoplastic material to quickly create a part that is nearly, but not exactly, the final net shape.
The subtractive function then machines the part to the exact final net shape. The build envelope for the LSAM starts at 10ft wide - 5ft tall - up to 100ft in length. The LSAM has printed a variety of materials including ABS, PPS, PSU, PESU, Nylon, Polycarbonate, Ultem and more, all with varying percentages of carbon fibre fill. The LSAM can print from 190lbs up to 570lbs per hour.
Building on last year’s successful exhibition, the UK will again have a presence at JEC World 2019. This year the UK Pavilion (hall 6, stand S50) is a collaboration between the Department for International Trade, the Welsh Government, Composites UK and the National Composites Centre, to promote the UK’s excellence in the composites sector. There will also 22 companies that have been recruited from across the UK composite supply chain.
The pavilion will act as a focal point to facilitate interaction with the UK and global composites industry. A networking reception sponsored by the Midlands Engine is being held on the stand on the afternoon of Wednesday 13th March with other events and initiatives to be announced in due course.
Finally, Web Industries’ Aerospace (hall 5, stand L6) division will highlight its capabilities in the formatting of flexible thermoplastic composite materials for next-generation aerospace applications. Web Industries processes PEEK, PEKK and PAEK thermoplastic resin prepregs into easy-to-fabricate formats such as slit tapes, chopped flakes and bias ply rolls. The formatted materials facilitate the production of complex aerospace components and promote short cycle times and rapid fabrication using automated processes. Samples of Web-formatted thermoplastic materials will be on display at the show.
Web’s PrecisionSlit cutting technology supports the slitting of both thermoset and thermoplastic prepreg composite tapes to widths as narrow as 3.2mm. Web can match tape lengths, winding patterns, liner materials and spool sizes to specific application requirements, providing custom-formatted materials that streamline work flows, increase production rates and reduce overall waste. Web’s slit tape cutting technologies are qualified for all major automated fibre placement and automated tape laying machinery.