Mikrosam has created a fully automated filament winding line for CNG tank.
Developed for Magna and installed in its plant in Austria, this production cell was invented for manufacturing a cost-effective lightweight CNG tank module. Using filament winding technology and application of composite materials, Mikrosam explains it has produced an alternative propulsion system that could result in reduction of car weight with up to 50% and 40% lower fuel expenses.
According to Mikrosam, its fully integrated solution consists of multi spindle filament winding machines with its cut & restart patented solution for automated cut & restart of the fibres tape during winding process; automatic handling operations of the liners or winded tanks and cured tanks between numerous equipment units in the production process and sophisticated curing oven that matches curing requirements of different resin systems. The winding machine is equipped with two winding carriages, one carriage for winding of main composite structure and one carriage for winding of outer protective layer, so that full continuous production of the CNG tanks is realised on same machine in single winding cycle. In total, Mikrosam explains that there are 24 servomotor controlled axes integrated in the filament winding machine itself, which it claims is probably one of the most advanced winding machines in the world built so far.
Mikrosam says that the flexibility to change production cycle from one tank size to another makes it really unique. 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. To make these changes and adjust the capacity of each single equipment station very fast increases productivity of the overall production line.
Control and monitoring of the work cell and whole manufacturing process is carried out from one place, TCON – Top level automation control system. It manages all modules in the integrated production line from one location while it records all important parameters, such as raw material consumption, complete set of production parameters, product tracking at every station and data for the multiple quality check points.
In order to reach high quality of the overall manufacturing process, Mikrosam has developed control software and a data acquisition system that enables the customer to see the line in operation, investigate it and discuss any issues before accepting. After the production cell is installed in the customer facility, continued support via remote maintenance system is guaranteed. Software is updated for the lifetime of the automated production line.
Designed to fit the required high volume production capacity, FW Production Cell is combining full automation, optimisation of the production rate by avoiding bottle-necks, flexibility of each single equipment station, well-timed process between each component in the cell, lower material waste, energy efficiency, real control on the quality at every point of the production cycle, monitoring of the complete manufacturing process and integration of safety functions in all modes of operation.
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