JEC Group have brought together the international community of composites leaders and executives in our Composites Circle as an unique networking opportunity to meet with both peers and future partners.
The company is continuing their work with the Long Island Forum for Technology (LIFT) to provide advanced composite-manufacturing equipment and expertise.
Pioneers in Automated Fiber Placement (AFP) technology, Automated Dynamics announced the sale of its AFP system to LIFT in 2013 and has now implemented a Laser-Based Heating System (LHS) for use in thermoplastic composite production.
LIFT, a not-for-profit organization, was founded over 35 years ago and exists to promote growth in technology-related fields of business in an effort to improve the economy of Long Island. They work alongside the New York State Foundation for Science, Technology and Innovation (NYSTAR) and the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP). Stated in their Mission, “LIFT has an industry-driven initiative structure, providing Long Island businesses with networking opportunities, access to enabling technologies, hands-on assistance and a wide range of programs directed at creating an environment for innovation, lowering the cost of operations and increasing growth, focused on creating Long Island’s future. LIFT supports the defense and aerospace, medical device and healthcare, homeland security, energy, information technology and manufacturing clusters of the Long Island economy while partnering with local companies, organizations, Universities and the National Laboratory Systems.”
Automated Dynamics’ laser heating system offers yet another way for established and developing businesses alike to explore, through LIFT, an emerging technology and the associated advantages. Current hot gas heating methods have been used for automated fiber placement of thermoplastic composites, but come with relatively slow processing rates and increased expense. Alternately, laser heating provides higher energy density and more uniform heating for faster processing rates, higher bond strength and superior surface finish. Improved process control is achieved through closed loop control of the bond zone temperature in real time. This is possible due to the millisecond response time of the LHS compared to the hot gas torch (HGT) response time of minutes. Overall, these changes translate to a 30% savings in production time and a corresponding decrease in manufacturing costs. Enabling companies to explore these methods allows for experimentation and prototyping with relatively low upfront investment, as opposed to purchasing and implementing new systems independently. Testing the feasibility of new parts and processes encourages growth, innovation, and expansion of composites technology.