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Axial fiber carbon composite beams for industrial automation, handling and machine systems

CompoTech has launched a new standard range of lightweight carbon fibre (CF) epoxy composite beams in a choice of round tubes and square shaped options and sizes, which can be specified instead of steel.

The standard square beams are produced from graphite and PAN carbon fibres using CompoTech’s innovative automated, robot assisted filament placement technique, which places continuous fibres axially along the beam length. The result is a high strength carbon epoxy composite beam with 10 – 15% higher stiffness in the axial direction and up to 50% greater bending strength compared to a conventional filament wound beam with the same dimensions.

CompoTech winding of a graphite and PAN carbon fibre epoxy square beam.

All CompoTech beams are produced with automated filament placement and precision press moulded using a wet, two part epoxy resin system. Curing is a two stage process, first at room temperature to remove any residual stresses during moulding that can cause deformation over time, then post mould curing in an oven. Compared with pultrusion, the pressing technique used by CompoTech provides a precision CF epoxy beam with very high dimensional accuracy and a close tolerance surface finish, which typically does not require costly CNC finish machining.

CompoTech winding of a PAN carbon fibre epoxy round tube.

Growing market demand
CompoTech’s main capabilities comprise of offering optimised designed composite laminate and structural designs to meet a customer’s specific requirements. However, the new range is based on the growing demand for popular sizes of composite beams from manufacturers of automated robot lines, handling equipment and machine systems. The outstanding properties of CompoTech’s carbon composite beams has enabled modular industrial tooling system producers, such as Bilsing Automation, to replace much heavier steel and aluminium beams, providing significant production benefits such as:

  • Faster operating speeds and higher productivity
  • Less vibration and more rapid damping
  • Heavier load handling capabilities on the same line
  • Lower energy consumption and lifetime operating costs
  • Easy assembly for structures needing bolted connections

CompTech’s carbon fibre epoxy composite standard square pressed beam with reinforced corners provides added stiffness, damping and load bearing performance. The stiffest design achieves an impressive E Modulus of 327 GPa, which is 69% stiffer than stainle

Applications in the aerospace, agricultural, automotive, metrology, marine, and sports equipment market sectors for CompoTech products include: industrial machine tool beams; drive shafts; automated automotive press line T-booms, structural frames and crossbars; crop sprayer booms; aerospace structures; yacht masts and spars; composite bike frames.

Range overview
The choice of standard square beam options includes hollow cornered ‘bolt together’ connector beams to extend length, and beams designed with reinforced corners for added stiffness, damping and load bearing performance.

Cross section of the different CompoTech beam design available, designed to be equivalent in stiffness to steel but at 25% of the weight. This makes them ideal for industrial/ automation/ machine tool applications looking to improve process performance an

Standard square beams are available in sizes from 60mm x 60mm x 5mm wall thickness, weighing 1.7 kg/m, with an E (elasticity) Modulus in the axial direction of 196 GPa, up to the largest beam 200mm x 200mm x 8mm, weighing 4.19kg/m, with E Modulus of 210 GPa, matching tool steel. The stiffest design achieves an impressive E Modulus of 327 GPa, which is 69% stiffer than stainless steel (193 GPa) and 56% stiffer than tool steel (210 GPa). Square beam lengths vary from between 2.3 – 5.0 metres depending on the size, as detailed in the catalogue.

CompoTech robot assisted fibre laying machine producing a square beam.

Standard CF epoxy round tubes, which have an E Modulus of 90 GPa, are manufactured using PAN carbon fibres. Tubes are available in sizes from as big as 428mm inside diameter x 4mm wall thickness, weighing 6.92 Kg/m down to 10mm inside diameter x 2mm wall thickness, weighing only 0.11 Kg/m. Standard tubes lengths are between 3.6 – 7.8 metres, depending on the diameter.

CompoTech robot assisted fibre laying machine producing a square beam.

Both standard tubes and square beams are available in quantities from one-off to multiple batch orders. On request, CompoTech will look to add additional sizes to the standard round and square beam ranges, as well as continuing to offer its bespoke design and manufacturing service for industrial beams and other CF composite components to meet specific customer requirements.

A 3 axis milling machine with CompoTech graphite composite gantry and z axis beams

Companies: CompoTech

Technologies: Compression Moulding, Fiber Placement

Terms: Innovations, News Worldwide

This article has been edited by Basalt.Today
This article has been written on JEC Composites Magazine
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