Published on : Tuesday, September 27, 2016
Dieffenbacher is launching the next generation of its Fiberforge tape laying system. With Fiberforge 4.0, the tape laying process is 3.5 times faster and therefore ideal for high volume production in the automotive industry.
Fiberforge 4.0 can be used for more efficient production of lightweight components. As a result, components made from fiber reinforced tapes can now be used in high volume production in both the lower and upper market segments of the automotive industry, such as for seat shells and door modules.
Matthias Graf, Director of Technology and Business Development at Dieffenbacher, explains, “Components made from unidirectional thermoplastic tapes are more shockproof and impact resistant at the same weight than conventional carbon fiber reinforced components (CFRP).”
Fast Cycle and a High Level of Flexibility
With Fiberforge 4.0, Dieffenbacher is introducing the fastest tape laying system in the world. In accordance with a defined pattern, Fiberforge 4.0 can manufacture manageable layups on the system from semifinished tapes. These tapes consist of glass or carbon fibers in a thermoplastic matrix and are used in the system on ready-made reels. Fiberforge 4.0 can accommodate four such reels, so various materials can be mixed in one tape layup. This means that hybrid layups can also be manufactured in a cycle. Laying tapes of varying widths and thicknesses is also possible.
Within a laying cycle—which is performed in about a second—up to two tapes can be laid simultaneously. A tape can be up to two meters long per cycle. During this time, it is possible to manufacture two tapes — for example, 2 x 500 mm, 2 x 800 mm or 1 x 100 mm and 1 x 600 mm. To ensure a precise laying position, the layers are fixed using ultrasonic spot welding during the placement process.
Reliable Production with Automatic Changing System
In mass production, including in the automotive industry, uninterrupted production is critical. The large reels therefore each hold up to 65 kilograms of material. The system also has an automatic reel-changing system that does not require user intervention.
Optimum Material Use Thanks to Low Waste
Using a new angle cutting system, the start and end of the tape can be cut either straight or at an angle of minus to plus 45 degrees (right or left diagonals). This means the tape can be cut according to the contours of the component to ensure a precise fit. This ensures optimum use of materials and reduces waste.
More Options with the Overall System Concept
Once the tape layup is completed, a robot takes it from the table and deposits it on the transfer station. The tape structure is then consolidated in a two-step process to remove air and weld the tape layers to a solid blank. This is then heated to melting temperature and pressed to create the finished component in the forming tool. The component assumes the desired 3D shape through this thermoforming process. The individual production steps are perfectly coordinated, as Fiberforge 4.0 is integrated into the overall system of upstream and downstream systems from Dieffenbacher.
Fiberforge 4.0 is often combined with long fiber thermoplastic compound (LFT). Using this overall system concept provides a high level of flexibility when it comes to shaping components. Various material combinations can be created in a single system: pure fiber tape components or LFT with local continuous fiber reinforcements. As a result, the most varied of requirements for a component can be achieved efficiently and in a manner suitable for mass production.