• The company contributed as an associated partner in a project headed by AZL Aachen, the international benchmark research centre for lightweight materials.
• The project, recognized by a jury of experts in composites for the category of Industry and Equipment, consisted of the manufacture of an ultra-fast machine (up to 500 kg/hour for the prototype) for the mass production of individual customized preforms.
Fagor Arrasate's commitment to innovation has received recognition from the JEC, the leading international composites fair. A project led by AZL Aachen, the international benchmark research centre for lightweight materials, in which Fagor Arrasate contributes as an associated partner, has won the JEC Innovation Awards, which recognise the best composite solutions, in the category of Industry and Equipment.
The project aimed at the manufacture of an ultra-fast machine (up to 500 kg/hour for the prototype) for the mass production of individual customized preforms, based on a part flow approach in combination with the placement of unidirectional tapes (in dry fibre, thermoplastic, prepreg…) by laser-assisted in situ consolidation.
The main benefits of this machine are its high production rate (>500 kg/hour) and low cycle time (<5 seconds). In addition, it is characterized by its energy efficiency, flexibility and fastness due to the use of in-situ consolidation. Besides, it is suitable for flexible production system with piece-flow principle, enabling new business models such as stiffening structures for injection and compression moulding.
This new ultra-fast consolidator machine offers both high flexibility and mass production. Fully-consolidated multi-layer laminates with different fibre directions and minimized waste (tailored blanks) can be produced in cycle times under 5 seconds for the first time, whereas the most recent machines need several minutes. This is accomplished by a new piece-flow principle which is state of the art in the printing industry but has not been used in composite production.
The production principle is based on moving carrier plates (for the transportation of the laminates), which are moved by a conveyor system and fed through several applicator stations. Each applicator station is equipped with innovative narrow applicator cassettes for laser-assisted tape placement with on-the-fly cut-and-add. The applicator cassettes are 50 mm wide and can process a tape width of 25 mm. Larger tape widths are also possible as the applicator cassettes are scalable.
The collaborative project involved the participation of other international partners such as Conbility GmbH (Germany), Covestro Deutschland AG (Germany), Engel Austria GmbH (Austria), Evonik Industries AG (Germany), Faurecia Composite Technologies (France), Fraunhofer IPT (Germany), Laserline GmbH (Germany), Mitsui Chemicals Europe GmbH (Germany), Mubea Carbo Tech GmbH (Austria), Philips Photonics (Germany), SSDT Shanghai Superior Die Technology Co., Ltd. (China), Toyota Motor Europe NV/SA (Belgium).
About JEC Innovation Awards
JEC Innovation Awards recognizes the innovation contribution of the most relevant players in the composites industry. Over the past 15 years, the JEC Innovation Awards have brought in 1,800 companies worldwide. The JEC Innovation Awards reward composites champions, based on criteria such as partner involvement in the value chain, technicality or commercial applications of innovations.
“The JEC Innovation Awards program is emblematic and recognises pioneers in composite innovation. The combination of lightweight, resistant materials that allow great design freedom, with a technology that allows complex shapes, is of interest to manufacturers. Many manufacturers have started using it to print automotive parts, aircraft parts, or building walls”, analyses Franck GLOWACZ, Innovation Content Leader at JEC Group.
About Fagor Arrasate
Fagor Arrasate has the widest portfolio of products in the field of metal and composite forming and offers its customers profound knowledge of the sector after a long-standing experience of more than 60 years. In the area of composites, for more than 40 years we have had a complete range of press solutions, including all auxiliary and complementary equipment, for the treatment of composite materials. Fagor Arrasate is a founding member of the MONDRAGON Corporation, one of the largest European industrial corporations, made up of 70,000 professionals.
The Group has 17 research centres, 6 production plants and 3 Service Hubs distributed internationally to ensure global supply and after-sales service. In addition, Fagor Arrasate has a production plant in China and a dozen centres located internationally to guarantee service and direct contact with its customers, particularly in the US, Germany, India, Russia, Brazil, Mexico and China. Its product portfolio covers leading solutions in mechanical and hydraulic presses, complete stamping systems, transfer presses, robotic press lines, press hardening, forging; cross-cutting, longitudinal, combined and multi-format lines; flattening under tension lines; special systems for forming metal parts, strip profiling, flexible profiling, equipment for cutting rotor-stator and dies, among many others.