Ready for Large-Series Production – Developments in Lightweight Construction

Automated Systems for Composite Components

At the Composites Europe trade show on September 19-21, Dieffenbacher will present its new solutions for the large-series production of fiber-reinforced plastic components at Stand C 25 in Hall 4.

Dieffenbacher is a supplier of automated, turnkey production systems for producing composite components. The production procedures presented at Composites Europe enable shorter cycle times and more efficient production processes, making it possible even to use large-series fiber-reinforced components in the automotive and aerospace industries. Three procedures are the stars of the show.

Tape-Laying Procedure: Faster and more precise with the tailored blank line

Fiberforge is the fastest tape laying system in the world: Within a mere second,
the tapes are laid in a defined pattern.

With the tailored blank line using the Fiberforge and Fibercon systems, Dieffenbacher has developed a solution for the large-series production of locally reinforced thermoplastic components.

In the first step, the Fiberforge produces near-net-shape composite lay-ups from carbon fiber or glass fiber pre-preg tapes. One laying cycle lasts about one second, making this system the fastest tape laying system in the world. After a laying pattern is defined, the tapes can be rolled off of coils and laid according to that pattern. The Fiberforge system can carry four of these coils. This makes it possible to mix different materials in one tape lay-up. Even the width and thickness of the tapes can be varied.

With a new angle-cutting system, the start and end of the tape can be cut either straight or at an angle of plus or minus 45 degrees. Precise and near-net-shape tape laying reduces excess bleed cuttings. An automatic coil exchange system guarantees uninterrupted production.

The complementary Fibercon process line uses vacuum bag forming to form the tape lay-ups into a near-net-shape laminate. The Fibercon can process several lay-ups simultaneously and has impressively short cycle times. The vacuum bag forming system minimizes air pockets and material faults, producing unparalleled laminate quality.

Together with downstream systems such as handling robots and compression molds, the Fiberforge and Fibercon systems make it possible to produce more than one million components per year.

The Preform Procedure: Simplified production with sub preforms

Dieffenbacher’s PreformCenter facilitates the near-net-shape rendering of the future component with minimum bleed cuttings.

Dieffenbacher offers systems for the preform production of glass fiber and carbon fiber components. This technology has been developed even further: Now, in just one cycle, several separate three-dimensional preforms can be produced and pressed together without an additional joining step to form a lightweight component. Dividing complex preforms into sub preforms simplifies the production process. This technology can be used, for example, to produce frame components with minimal material loss and load-path-optimized fiber orientation. The entire process – from the production of the sub preform to the joining in the compression mold – happens fully automatically.

The Wet Forming Procedure: An economical alternative for high-strength components 

The wet forming procedure is used to produce carbon fiber components with low three-dimensional complexity. Component examples include vehicle drive tunnels and reinforcements in the roof area.

The wet forming procedure is ideal for the large-series production of carbon fiber components with low three-dimensional complexity. These include components such as the vehicle drive tunnel and reinforcements in the roof area, both of which are subjected to high stress. For these components, the wet forming procedure is an economical alternative with a simple process chain. As opposed to the resin transfer molding procedure (RTM), the wet forming procedure applies the resin catalyst mixture – usually epoxy resin – to the carbon fiber lay-up before it is placed in the compression mold. This enables the resin catalyst mixture to be applied while other components simultaneously cure in the compression mold. The resulting shorter cycle times and higher piece numbers compensate for the high cost of the carbon material.

Dieffenbacher GmbH
Maschinen- und Anlagenbau
Annette Wettach
Marketing und Kommunikation
Heilbronner Straße 20
75031 Eppingen, Deutschland
Tel. +49 7262 65 177