A well-known Macedonia-based manufacturer of equipment for composite industry Mikrosam has delivered a fully automated filament winding line for CNG tanks to Magna’s production facility. This production cell has already been installed in its plant in the city of Graz (Austria).
Composite gas tanks for compressed natural gas (CNG ) produced by this line can reduce vehicle weight by up to 50% and fuel expenses by up to 40%. The performance of this production line makes it unique and one of the most advanced in the worldwide.
The production cycle is fully automated, control and monitoring of the work cell and overall manufacturing process is carried out from one place, the top level automation control system (TCON). It manages all modules in the integrated production line from one location while recording raw material consumption, complete production parameters, product tracking at every station and data for multiple quality check points. The software of the system is updated for the lifetime.
Mikrosam develops control software and data acquisition systems in order to maintain a high quality of the overall manufacturing process.
Mikrosam’s fully integrated composite manufacturing solution comprises:
- Multi-spindle filament winding machines with the company’s patented automated cut & restart of the fibers/tape during winding process;
- Automatic handling of liners and wound and cured tanks between numerous equipment units in the production process;
- Sophisticated curing oven that accommodates the requirements of different resin systems.
The winding machine is equipped with two winding carriages, one carriage for winding the main composite structure and one carriage for winding the outer protective layer so that full continuous production of the CNG tanks on the same machine is a single winding cycle.
One of the most important features of this production solution is the ability to produce gas tanks of various sizes. When this is required, all programs, mechanical and electrical parts are automatically adjusted to the different CNG tanks sizes that are necessary to be produced. The ability to make these changes and adjust the capacity of each equipment station quickly increases the productivity of the overall production line.
Europe is the largest market for natural gas vehicles. With demand continuing to increase here and around the world, Mikrosam has developed a range of fully-automated filament-winding lines and separate cells for the production of composite LPG and CNG tanks, for hydrogen tanks, and other high compression tanks. Specification and the choice of fiber type for winding (carbon, glass, and basalt) depend on the customer. Mikrosam will present a number of their new solutions at the COMPOSITES EUROPE 2016 in Dusseldorf on November, 29.