Mass-produced Custom-made Laminates
In collaboration with partners, the Aachen Center for Integrative Lightweight Production (AZL) has developed a system for the mass production of custom-made thermoplastic laminates.
Using the scalable "Ultra-Fast Consolidator" machine, it is now possible to produce completely consolidated multi-layered laminates with varying fibre directions and minimised weight in less than five seconds. The basis for the machine is the combination of laser-assisted tape placement with "in situ consolidation" and a "piece flow" principle, which is a novelty in the production of composite materials, but the standard in printing.
The process increases productivity to over 500 kg/h. Besides the AZL and the Fraunhofer Institute for Production Technology (IPT), Conbility, Covestro, Engel, Evonik, Fagor Arrasate, Faurecia, Laserline, Mitsui Chemicals, Mubea Carbo Tech, Philips Photonics, SSDT and Toyota were involved in development. Only recently the innovation has been awarded with the 2019 JEC Award in the Industry and Equipment category. Several of the AZL's industry partners will commercialise the system in 2019.