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Automated Chemical Stitching and Preforming (AChSo)
Start date: Oct 1, 2012, End date: Mar 31, 2014 PROJECT  FINISHED 

Today’s preforming technologies are largely manual, thus increasing the costs of Liquid Composite Molding (LCM) technologies such as Resin Transfer Moulding (RTM). Systems that can drape 3D profiles automatically and continuously, such as the one developed by FIBRE, have just left the development stage but are in need of further development to in-crease productivity and quality.The chemical stitching (CS) technology offers a way to reduce the lead time by replacing the time consuming binder application with localised adhesives application. For the application, needles will be used which inject either a thermoplastic (hot melt) or thermoset (microwave curing) adhesive between the layers. This will also improve permeability and thus the quality of the finished part. Furthermore is the chemical stitching technology more energy efficient because melting or curing of the adhesive is restricted to minimal areas and volumes.The aim of this proposal is to develop an efficient process chain for the continuous pro-duction of profiles such as stingers and spars for the CS EDA WP2 torsion box generator.From the singular requirements concerning the component geometry as well as the equipment foot print it becomes clear, that a new machine needs to be designed and constructed. Extensive knowledge gathered during the development of 3D preforming technology by the applicant reduces the development time of the core preforming equipment, so that the majority of the work can be focused on developing the integrated preforming/chemical stitching process. Nevertheless, the requirements for using different sorts of fabric (woven, nonwoven, NCF, UD) requires testing of the new equipment to find the correct set of process parameters for each fabric. The new equipment will be designed in modules, so as to ease later expansion of its capabilities. Thus, the equipment can be enhanced in the future with the ability to produced curved profiles or with additional CS substructures.
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