JEC World is helping shape the global composites sector. Composites in Manufacturing previews some of the companies returning to showcase their latest products and innovations during the event.
We begin our exhibitor round-up with BEAD, who will hold a live demo every day on the Belotti (hall 6, stand G51) during JEC World. Through the integration of a CEAD extruder for additive manufacturing in a Belotti 5-axis CNC machining centre, BEAD allows the production of parts that are sufficiently oversized to be finished to the required tolerances with times and raw materials consumption lower than traditional methods.
BEAD’s solution is possible in different configurations with variable build volumes, extrusion outputs and printing orientations. One of the key features is the 45Ë orientation, that enables to print fully closed shapes without supports for undercuts, reducing printing time and improving interlayer adhesion, and to mediate mechanical and thermal properties of the material at needs. The extrusion temperature goes up to 400°C in order to process a wide variety of materials.
BEAD utilises composite pellets made of a thermoplastic polymer matrix and different types of fibres as reinforcement. Polymers range from commodity to high performance materials. Thermoplastics can be recyclable and re-used, making the process even more sustainable.
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 version 9.2 of VERICUT software.
Fibre handling feats
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.
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.
In the next hall, OXECO (hall 6, stand S52) will use JEC to showcase KOTEFAST, which removes the need for sanding or abrasion as a surface preparation when it comes to painting composites or plastics, while improving paint adhesion. KOTEFAST is applied using standard manual or robotic spray equipment and because it is a spray treatment it prepares the entire surface no matter how complex the shape or tight the corner. Not a chemical etch, KOTEFAST works by chemical insertion into the molecular chains of the material and crosslinks to the paint applied on top of the surface treatment. Additionally, KOTEFAST creates a cleaner, better manufacturing environment.
Celebrating 40 years at the forefront of advanced composites, PRF Composite Materials (hall 5, stand E41) will showcase its class-leading prepreg system range and present the company’s increased manufacturing capabilities and completion of a circa £6 million expansion programme.
Having opened its fourth facility in 2021, increasing PRF’s factory space to 40,000ft2, the PRF team will be discussing new product developments and technologies driven by the upgrade and expansion of its R&D and prepreg manufacturing capabilities. Also on the stand, will be PRF’s wider range of advanced composite materials, including high performance reinforcements, epoxy resin systems, Qiicote mould release, kitting services and more.
Moving on, Roth Composite Machinery (hall 5, stand S30) will present its filament winding, prepreg and towpreg production expertise during JEC World, with a focus on machines for the production of lightweight materials, such as prepregs and towpregs as well as machines for their processing.
The company’s Filament Winding Machine FWA 1 Duplex is said to set new standards for the manufacture of products using the filament winding process. A new process technology enables the winding process from both sides of a spindle which halves the winding times compared to standard machines.
An innovative frame design teams the dynamics of the accelerated production process with an increased fibre delivery volume with ease. The new filament winding system is available with three, four or five spindles. It is suitable for production processes in wet or dry and towpreg winding procedures by using all common fibre types.
Next up, Saertex (hall 5, stand J6) will unveil innovations on three main topics that are linked to the company’s corporate vision of ‘Innovation for a resource-saving future’. The first is ‘One-stop shopping for the wind industry. Saertex will present two new products: SAERplanks, pultruded planks made of carbon fibre and SAERfoam for Wind, a newly developed core material style. Both innovations expand the range of composite materials for rotor blade construction for cross-technology solutions.
The second is ‘Innovation for a resource-saving future’ which will comprise news in regards to the sustainability activities of the company with local sourcing concepts, recycling processes and the introduction of bio-based NCFs.
The third is ‘New efficiency for transportation, automotive and aerospace’, which will highlight new materials for E-Mobility, Last-mile delivery, sustainable boatbuilding and a digital material inspection for aerospace.
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.
Working all the angles
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 45Ë 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.
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.
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.