Automated process sequence for composites parts with UD tapesIn the process sequence used here, the tape is first taken as a unidirectional (UD), impregnated fiber composite from the roll and laid down to form the desired lay-up sequence. The automated tape-laying step employs the production-scale RELAY technology available at the Fraunhofer Institute for Chemical Technology (ICT). Next, the 2-D tape lay-up is consolidated with the aid of a suitable press, i.e. pressed under temperature, after which it is formed and overmolded with Ultramid COM in the final process step to yield the 3-D part. This involved an industrial-scale automated production cell for thermoplastic hybrid parts at Neue Materialien Bayreuth GmbH, the heart of which is a 2,500 t injection molding machine.
Although in contrast to composite parts made from woven fabric laminates (mats), the thermoplastic tape requires more processing effort, it offsets this by offering a more application-specific, local reinforcement based on the actual load path. The multi-part tape process is also more complex, but has less trim waste and provides higher performance than an approach with a fabric laminate.