An all singing, all dancing flexible production solution of the fibre layup of composites for new urban air mobility air taxis comes courtesy of the robots of the SAMBA Series production cells. Aerospace Manufacturing reports.
Fuelled by electric engines and autonomous navigation, new air mobility concepts, such as light aircraft and flying-car hybrids - air taxis - will forever change the way we travel around in dense metropolitan areas.
The democratic approach, catering to the masses through platform and sharing models, results in exponentially increasing demand for new vehicles. The key challenge for manufacturers means deploying a technology that works efficiently at low volumes, but can scale 10-50x as the market grows.
On a functional level, manufacturers must balance structural weight, payload and range for intended missions. This mandates the use of fibre composite material. But manufacturing processes for composites are either manual and slow, or require equipment with high upfront investments and little flexibility once installed. 3D printing, on the other hand, offers great flexibility, but doesn’t meet requirements regarding volumes or mechanical properties.
Match the patch
Cevotec enables manufacturers to build complex fibre composites in high volume and quality – by smart process automation based on Fibre Patch Placement technology. With SAMBA, Cevotec offers customisable, automated fibre lay-up systems for challenging 3D geometries and multi-material laminates with complex fibre orientation. ARTIST STUDIO is the matching CAE software for generating patch-based fibre laminates and automated robot programming. Along with development services that include FE-based modelling and simulation, Cevotec offers the entire process chain from digital design to final fibre product.
Fibre Patch Placement bridges the gap between productivity, flexibility and production costs in fibre composites and offers efficiency even at low volumes through scalable automation. Adapted to the size and complexity of a component, the technology works additively in ‘sensible increments’, enabling the production of challenging 3D geometries and multi-material laminates with complex fibre orientation, resulting in extreme lightweight designs with a remarkably improved performance-to-weight ratio.
The Robots of the SAMBA Series production cells place discrete fibre elements or ‘patches’ on calculated positions, thereby realising the complex fibre layups fully-automated. The technology-specific software ARTIST STUDIO supports engineers with CAD, CAM and FEA functions.
Featuring additive manufacturing following bionic principles, Fibre Patch Placement consumes 25-50% less material than other technologies by eliminating production scrap and optimising fibre architecture. Furthermore, short set-up times enable the economic production of different parts on a single system, which is also capable of processing multiple materials for hybrid parts and sandwich structures. As volumes scale, production concepts scale along, avoiding costly re-qualifications. Thanks to this flexibility, Fibre Patch Placement offers literally ground-breaking opportunities for an efficient production ramp-up in new urban air mobility.
Visitors at JEC World will get first-hand information about Fibre Patch Placement technology on Cevotec’s stand in hall 5, booth Q73.