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Design of a Machine for Automated Tailored Fiber Placement (TFP) Based Manufacturing Processes

Simon Konze, Sophia Elsner, Konrad Löschner, Peter Laabs, Lars Bittrich, Axel Spickenheuer, Gert Heinrich

Abstract


Since the invention of fiber-reinforced plastics (FRP), many manufacturing processes have been developed and refined. Among others, these developments serve the purpose of increasing efficiency of FRP production, as well as an improvement in utilization of the given material properties. The Tailored Fiber Placement (TFP) technology represents a manufacturing technique which provides an opportunity to exploit the fiber properties within a composite to a very high rate. Due to a high number of degrees of freedom, reinforcing fibers can be placed in arbitrary directions and in curvilinear patterns. Currently, many steps within the TFP process chain still require manual effort, which restricts the efficiency of this manufacturing process to a certain limited rate of productivity. Our current research focuses on the development of a new generation of fiber placement machines, which, amongst other advantages, reduces manual work significantly. By upgrading the structure of the embroidery machine with additional mechanical devices, such as cutting units and an automated exchange of the base material, the TFP process can be configured to a higher level of automation. In cooperation with the Faculty of Design of the Hochschule für Technik und Wirtschaft Dresden (HTW), a machine concept was developed that combines the individual steps of the TFP technology in a single machine considering additionally ergonomic aspects.

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