New Fiber Patch Placement concepts for aerospace

Fiber Patch Placement (FPP) has become the preferred technology for the automated production of complex fiber composite components.

The additive manufacturing of components with suitably-sized patches is used especially in the aerospace and automotive industries, for medical devices and sports equipment.

In close cooperation with leading manufacturers of components for the aerospace industry, Cevotec further develops the entire patch placement process according to the requirements of the industry.

Cevotec’s FPP specialists are particularly interested in complex sandwich components with their sophisticated material mix, such as adhesive films, glass fiber and carbon fiber layers.

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These different materials are used to improve the adhesion and processability of carbon fiber material with the often-used aluminum honeycomb sandwich cores.

Cevotec’s CTO Felix Michl said the SAMBA Multi production systems, which the company was developing, enabled the automated lay-up of this special multi-material mix in one single system.

In addition to glass fiber fleeces, metal structures and wood cores, also honeycomb cores, solid foams and additional materials have already enjoyed load-adjusted fiber patch reinforcements.

Depending on process requirements, this can be done in-line or parallel to line production to optimize cycle times.

SAMBA Multi has parallel feeding units for different materials that are processed in one production system and placed precisely on 3D sandwich cores or preforming tools.

By mounting the FPP unit on a linear axis, the concept also enables the production of particularly long and wide components in aerospace applications.

Adapted to specific component sizes, we also scaled the patch grippers to DIN-A5 and DIN-A4 size to meet the requirements of common aircraft components. An integrated gripper station enables the exchange of grippers during the process.

Cevotec managing director Thorsten Groene said the automated multi-material lay-up of complex sandwich components had an extremely positive effect on process times and thus the production volume.

“The fiber deposition with controlled pressure and heat enables skipping intermediate compactions and thus reduces process times significantly,” he said.

FPP sustainably reduced recurring production costs in many applications, said Groene.

“Material savings of 20 per cent to 50 per cent play a major role, of course, but automation with FPP often enables further optimization of the overall process,” he said.