JEC World attracts exhibitors from around the world. Aerospace Manufacturing previews some of the companies that will be showcasing their latest products and innovations during the show.
We begin our exhibitor round-up at JEC World with 9T Labs (hall 5, stand Q8). The experts in the automated series production of continuous fibre components will demonstrate how lightweight carbon parts are ideal for aircraft cabin and structural components such as brackets, harnesses and sensor mounts.
9T Labs’ build and fusion modules produce high-performance composites in high volumes by taking advantage of fast production cycles, favourable processability of thermoplastic composites and low material waste, allowing the replacement of metal parts. This manufacturing method offers manufacturers the ability to increase their buy-to-fly ratio.
9T Labs’ team can discuss how additive manufacturing of fibre-reinforced parts is much more accessible than using conventional methods and to reveal how aerospace industry leaders are already adopting 3D printing to fabricate tools, fixtures, and prototypes.
In addition, a helicopter door hinge, a Boeing aerospace bracket and an aeroplane strut, will all be on display, highlighting 9T Labs’ ability to employ the most advanced structures, materials and technologies at scale.
Next up, Anaglyph (hall 5, stand N80) will demonstrate the latest version of its PlyMatch hand-layup ply placement technology. PlyMatch uses AR 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.
Meanwhile, the company’s Laminate Tools is a standalone Windows application, interfacing with most industry standards. It addresses the entire Design-Analysis-Check-Manufacture group process of structural design, but focusing on the composite material features. It complements existing CAD systems and/or FEA environments.
The Biesse Group (hall 6, stand D25), a leader in technology for the machining of composite materials. The company says its solutions are extremely precise, easy to use, and versatile - and come with all of the optional features for the machining of every material present on the market today.
Biesse has created a range of products made up of panel saws (Selco Plast), work centres (Rover Plast and Materia), water-jet cutting systems (Primus), sanders (Viet Plast), and thermoformers (Terma). High speed electrospindles, high power suction systems, and cutting accessories with tangential oscillating blades provide 360° solutions to every machining need in the advanced materials sector.
In the next hall, Broetje-Automation (hall 5, stand N76) and its partners are among the finalists for the JEC Innovation Award 2022. At JEC World, Broetje-Automation will showcase achievements for reaching a step change on automation. These contribute to more sustainability and efficiency in production.
The company’s aerospace-related collaborative industrial development has been acknowledged by the jury: IRIS Lower Wing Cover - Continuous Composite Preforming System (CCPS). In the IRIS project initiated and led by Spirit AeroSystems, Broetje-Automation has taken the composite preforming process to a new level. The company developed a solution to fully automate the process integrating several process steps into one automated system. This marks a milestone for new manufacturing technologies in the factory of the future. The CCPS quickly and cost-effectively delivers reproducible high quality and lay-up rates, less material consumption and space required - all at the push of a button. This saves up to 30% in operating costs and energy consumption. Layup rates of 100kg/h are just the beginning and will even increase in the future.
The project will lead to a more sustainable and efficient way of motion in the field of composite automation. JEC show visitors will gain more insights into the technologies for the composite factory of the future – including a live demo of the STAXX ONE Fibre Placement Robot Cell.
Cevotec (hall 5, stand Q80) will present the latest advancements in Fibre Patch Placement (FPP) composite automation and its applications for aerospace at the show. FPP enables robotics-based lay-up automation for multi-material composite aerostructures and hydrogen tanks - both highly relevant for next-generation aircraft.
Cevotec offers automated fibre placement systems that handle the geometric complexity of sandwich structures and their multi-material mix of adhesive film, glass and carbon layers precisely. Defined material plies are accurately placed by robots with form-adaptive placement grippers. These robotic FPP systems control the compaction pressure during placement, and place plies directly onto complex-shaped honeycomb cores, featuring a dedicated roll-movement. The controlled compaction pressure significantly reduces the need for intermediate debulking steps and 20-60% cost and time-savings can be realised compared to the manual layup processes.
Elsewhere, CGTech (hall 5, stand P30) will demonstrate how advanced programming strategies and simulation can lead to the production of better composite parts. Throughout the show, CGTech will showcase its Composites focused applications, including VERICUT Composite Programming (VCP) and VERICUT Composite Simulation (VCS), as well as delivering a presentation on its SMART-TAPE project, that will transform the way components are manufactured.
The company’s SMART-TAPE project aims to overcome any barriers to efficiency and throughput by delivering novel multi-material (hybrid) processes, using carbon fibre-reinforced thermoplastic tapes in conjunction with low-cost metallic and polymeric substrates, for volume applications.
CGTech will also exhibit its latest version of VERICUT software. Version 9.2 is the very latest release of VERICUT, an industry leading independent CNC machine simulation, verification and optimisation software platform that enables users to eliminate the process of manually proving-out NC programs.
CompoTech PLUS (hall 6, stand M75) will be exhibiting the latest carbon composite component innovations and automated processing technologies at JEC World. The company specialises in providing innovative CFRP machine tool and automation solutions as an alternative to steel and aluminium to reduce weight, increase stiffness, improve damping and significantly increase productivity, while reducing overall manufacturing costs.
CompoTech has proprietary automated fibre placement production facilities, in-house process development and design engineering expertise, 3D printed tooling and CNC machining. These extensive capabilities enable CompoTech to create and manufacture to order a wide variety of standard and bespoke lightweight, vibration-damped, carbon fibre epoxy composite components.
The CompoTech team applies a fresh thinking composites process approach to finding innovative structural design solutions, with a major R&D focus on improving the performance of automated lines and industrial machines systems.
All in the handling
Fibre handling and converting technology specialist, Cygnet Texkimp (hall 5, stand M72) will showcase its high-speed, large-scale part winding capability at JEC World. The company’s Multi Axis Winder (MAW) will be running live on its stand, enabling visitors to see the benefits of the technology which is designed to wind large, continuous and curved parts for the aerospace industry.
The MAW was developed to manufacture tubular parts with angles and even slight curves, including aircraft wing spars, pipes and other profiles. It uses rail-mounted rotating rings which move back, forth, and around a static mandrel, placing high volumes of fibre onto the mandrel or former as it builds up the layers of a part.
Its sister technology, the 3D Winder, is based on the same principles as the MAW but is mounted onto a robot instead of a linear track to provide greater dexterity of winding geometry. This machine allows manufacturers to wind complex curved parts which otherwise would not lend themselves to filament winding.
Unlike conventional filament winding technologies where fibres are wound onto a rotating mandrel, the MAW and the 3D Winder both incorporate a static mandrel. The static mandrel offers considerable practical benefits in material handling, particularly to manufacturers of large parts that are inherently unbalanced, such as those required by the aerospace industry.
Meanwhile, DK Holdings (hall 5, stand F70) will use JEC World to introduce its Diamond Step Pro Drill, the latest addition to its bespoke Diamond Tooling range for composite applications. This diamond plated Step Drill offers many advantages over conventional drilling and cutting methods and can be used for various industrial applications in the aviation, marine and motorsport industries.
The cone shape design allows various hole sizes to be drilled with just one tool, offering cost saving in the process. Additionally, the tool is available in different grit size to achieve various finishes as required. The company’s R&D department based this new innovative design on its tools already used for sheetmetal and developed it in partnership with one of their customers.
SL-Laser (hall 6, stand A72) will present its ProDirector 7 laser projection system at the event. Equipped with the latest electronic components laser diodes and scanners, the system is used for the exact positioning and alignment of workpieces – with the positioning data coming directly from the CAD Software.
Drawings, contours, outlines or positions are displayed as a green laser line on the working area at a scale of 1:1. The data is imported into the SL3D software and displayed graphically. In addition to the laser image on the working area, the user also has the information from the CAD about what is currently being projected. Important information such as text can be displayed as a laser image and on the screen. By showing and hiding the assembly steps from the various drawing levels, each work step can be traced.
The lasers work as single or multi-head systems, whilst for large applications, several systems can be connected in series or a rail system is offered so that a large picture is created. The ProDirector 7 is ideal for small and confined space. Weighing 5.8kg, the operator can use the system as a mobile system on tripod or fixed with a clamp on rips in the fuselage for example. It makes sense if you have to remove the laser to different parts that are difficult to remove.
It all adds up
Thermwood (hall 6, stand P50 D) says it has added a third print orientation to its Large Scale Additive Manufacturing (LSAM) systems, and will exhibit a fiberglass layup tool example that was printed using this new method at JEC.
LSAM systems currently print both horizontal and vertical layers if equipped with the Vertical Layer Print (VLP) option, available on most Thermwood LSAM machines. This new addition adds Angle Layer Printing (ALP) to the VLP option. ALP is the ability to print at a 45Ëš angle. This adds maximum print flexibility to the LSAM line of systems. Each print orientation has advantages and limitations for a particular part design. Offering all three on the same machine, for the first time, means maximum print flexibility.
The VLP option has been replaced with a VLP/ALP option on new machines which offers both vertical and angle layer print capability, in addition to the standard horizontal layer print. ALP can be easily and inexpensively added to machines operating in the field that already have the VLP option.
Processing a variety of reinforced composite polymers from room temperature ABS and PC to high temperature material such as PSU, PESU and PEI, Thermwood’s LSAM systems are used to produce moulds and tools for the aerospace industry, as well as a variety of other applications.
Moving on, Web Industries (hall 5, stand G21) will introduce a precision bias-ply material formatting process called Precision BiasPly at JEC World. Web’s fully automated formatting process produces thermoplastic bias-ply parent rolls of composite materials, which are utilised by manufacturing methods, such as compression moulding, automated fibre placement and hand lay-up. Bias-ply materials feature fibres that are pre-oriented to 30, 45, 60 or 90Ëš in contrast to standard unidirectional fibres. Multiple layers of bias-ply materials can be combined to offer exceptional strength relative to their weight.
Thermoplastic precision bias-ply materials such as PEEK, PEKK, PAEK, PA6 and PPS support the efforts of aerospace manufacturers to improve buy-to-fly ratios while enabling higher production rates for components such as spars, stringers, nacelles, propellers/blades and other aircraft components.
Traditionally, the multi-step, bias-ply formatting process is difficult for manufacturers to perform in house and often results in low material yields. Utilising Web’s customised formatting process, aerospace manufacturers can significantly improve throughput and lower material costs while focusing on their core competencies of product design and production.
Finally, Zünd (hall 5A, stand T41) will demonstrate how data management, digital cutting, and downstream processes such as picking, sorting, and kitting, can be automated intelligently and based on specific needs.
With Zünd PreCut Centre, the user is well equipped to handle the challenges of demanding manufacturing processes. The software automatically optimises contours and adjusts cut paths depending on the material and choice of tools. With the integrated nesting function, parts are laid out automatically for optimal material utilisation. Considering the high cost of materials, maximum yield is essential for economical digital cutting.
With Pick&Place, Zünd presents a cost-effective solution for fully automated picking and kitting of cut parts. The Pick&Place interface enables direct communication with the robot via Zünd Cut Centre – ZCC, the Zünd operating software and user interface. Pick&Place makes it possible to completely automate parts removal, kitting and placing. The necessary parameters are derived from the metadata supplied with the job order.