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Future technology - Laser-assisted fiber placement

: Dubratz, Markus

Composite materials (2008), Nr.1, S.18-20
ISSN: 1863-8333
Fraunhofer IPT ()
faserverstärkter Kunststoff; thermoplastischer Kunststoff; Faseranordnung; Anlagenautomatisierung; Rotationssymmetrie; tragendes Bauteil; Endlosfaser; Laseranwendung; kontinuierliches Einlegen; Halbleiterlaser; Leichtbaustruktur

The project aims the automatic production of rotational symmetrical components of thermoplastic fiber reinforced materials for use of three-dimensional structural components. Concepts for positioning of endless fiber reinforced tapes, or fiber placement are investigated. Tapes reinforced with carbon fiber or fiber glass are immersed in a polymer matrix system and are rolled up in coils. A tape-laying unit which includes all the necessary functions for handling the prepreg tape was developed. The tape-laying unit is mounted onto a robot system. This creates the tape-laying movements. In order to produce a highly compact fiber reinforced component via laser-assisted tape-laying, the tapes are deposited, layer by layer, into a mold. During the process, a laser melts the upper side of the fresh tape and the lower side of the previously deposited tape. The tapes are then deposited side by side, without gaps, and compressed by a pressure roller in order to make the fiber reinforced component compact. The first results of trials show that the carbon fiber best absorbs radiation from a high-performance diode laser. In the course of future development work, a system must be designed to secure the first tape to the mold. Subsequent layers can then be melted onto the bottom layer. This innovative machining process will be able to flexibly and cost effectively produce three-dimensional lightweight components. The project ultimately aims to introduce fiber reinforced materials into new fields of industry and technology.
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