The hybrid work cell is said to integrate the advantages of both filament winding and AFP technologies to provide increased freedom in designing parts and enhance productivity. The technology is expected to find application in the aerospace, automotive, oil and gas storage and transport, marine and other industries with high demand for composite parts.
The configuration of the new work cell offers customers an interchangeable multi-tow (16) AFP head, and a filament winding system. The AFP head, equipped with an infrared heating device, is designed for automated bi-directional lay-up of thermoset prepreg tapes. The filament winder performs wet and dry winding of carbon, glass or aramid fibres. The time consuming process of transferring the product from one machine (filament winding process) to another (AFP process), which can take more than a day, is significantly reduced. On this new machine, switching from filament winding to AFP is done within minutes.
For validation and optimisation of the process, Mikrosam has developed an integrated MIKROPLACE and WINDING EXPERT software module, an exclusive package for programming and simulating of the cell.
“We have developed many innovative solutions for the composites market, but this one is definitely the most sophisticated, easy-to-use and cost-effective integrated machine in recent years,” states Dimitar Bogdanoski, Sales Manager at Mikrosam. “It is optimised for production of large composite parts, with excellent strength to weight ratio (up to 100 tons weight), diameter of up to 3.5 m, and lengths of 10 m. Helicopter propellers, rocket boosters, hydrogen storage tanks, cryogenic tanks, pipes and many other medium to large, complex final composite parts can be produced faster than before. The return on investment is expected to be within two-three years. The possibility of applying multiple material forms on the same part is expected to increase customer’s productivity by 20% and save time for many new projects.”