The use of thermoplastic composites has increased rapidly over the last few years and there is a strong indication that this will continue. The attraction of composites primarily stems from their ability to replace standard lightweight / high strength metals with an even lighter-weight /higher strength alternative. Composites offer new design flexibilities, improved corrosion and wear resistance, low thermal conductivity, high impact resistance and increased fatigue life. Additionally, the use of thermoplastic polymers has significant advantages compared with the use of thermoset polymers:
- products are ''ready to use'' and moulds can be re-used immediately
- production is clean and environmental friendly
- products can be recycled at end-of-life .
AFPT in collaboration with their suppliers can offer support in selecting the right materials for your application.
Core of our tapeplacement-process is our active control of the heat source during the placement of the tapes. This guarantees optimal consolidation and prevents degradation of the thermoplasts.
Our tapeheads guide the fibre reinforced tapes towards a mandrel or mould where the thermoplastic resin will be heated by a heat source. This is often a diode laser. The tape with the molten resin is then consolidated under pressure and cooled down. During placement the temperature of the tape is measured and by help of the unique software the laser power in adjusted and the requested temperature is maintained.
Tape Placement can be used:
- in winding tapes on mandrels or liners, producing pressure vessels, seals, drive shafts, bearings etc.: ''tape winding''
- in placing tapes on moulds, forming flat and 3D curved products or reinforcing preproduced parts: ''tape laying''
AFPT's actual laser technology provides the highest energy density and efficiency in the welding zone combined with fast response time. Responding times of only a few milliseconds give accurate control of the supplied energy. By taking the local temperature as the variable controlling laser output, overheating the tapes is avoided.
By the flexibility of the process, the AFPT production equipment can be adapted to any new material.
New heatsources like VCSEL's are under development.
Tape winding is used to produce rotational (a) symmetric products, these products are mostly cylindrical shaped. For winding a liner or mandrel is required:
- a liner will stay in the product and depending on the basic material the tapes can be consolidated with the liner-material. Example: winding of liners
- a mandrel can be removed after the production process. Example: winding of ring
AFPT is developing state of the art tape placement heads to produce flat and 3D curved surfaces. The quality of the end-product can be improved by the use of pre-heated moulds.
Tapelaying can also be used for local reinforcement of moulded parts or sheets. With a single tape the characteristics of the basic material can be extremely improved.
We provide single- and multi-tapelaying-heads.