New consolidation press for UD tapes
Engel organomelt technology is suitable for both organic sheets and unidirectional (UD) glass and/or carbon fibre reinforced tapes with thermoplastic matrix. Tapes make it possible to design semi-finished products in line with requirements and thus make even better use of the components' lightweight design potential. The components are either partially reinforced with just a few tapes or are produced from tape stacks several millimetres thick.
To be cost-effective in large-scale production, the stacks must be made and consolidated inline and within the cycle of the injection moulding process. As a system supplier, Engel is in a position to offer integrated and fully automated solutions for the entire process - from individual tapes through to functionalisation in the injection moulding process - from a single source.
Two systems are used for the production of the blanks. A pick-and-place tape stacking cell with optical image processing and a consolidation press, which Engel will be presenting for the first time at Composites Europe. "With this new development, we have succeeded in consolidating stacks of fibre-reinforced thermoplastic tapes in the injection moulding cycle," says Dr. Norbert Müller, head of Engel’s center for lightweight composite technologies. "The consolidation press can be seamlessly integrated into the overall process, which significantly increases efficiency in the production of tailor-made tape solutions."
The consolidation press can be seamlessly integrated into the overall process, which significantly increases efficiency in the production of tailor-made tape solutions.
The consolidation press developed by Engel in cooperation with its partner Fill (Gurten, Austria) can be used to consolidate fibre stacks with deliberate fibre orientation and different wall thicknesses. All process steps are automated. All told, the consolidation process integrates inserting the fibre stack into the mould, transferring the closed mould to the heating press, heating, transferring the mould to the cooling press, consolidation, cooling and transferring to the initial station, where the mould is opened, the consolidated semi-finished product (blank) removed and a new fibre stack inserted so that the cycle can start again.