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Automated filament winding production cell will produce competitive CNG tanks

News International-French

20 Sep 2016

The Macedonian Mikrosam, delivered the fully automated Filament Winding Line for CNG tanks.

Developed for the global automotive supplier Magna and installed in its plant in Austria, this production cell was invented for manufacturing a cost-effective lightweight CNG tank module. Using filament winding technology and application of composite materials, produced alternative propulsion system would result in reduction of car weight with up to 50% and 40% lower fuel expenses. 

A fully integrated Mikrosam’s solution consists of multi spindle filament winding machines with Mikrosam cut & restart patented solution for automated cut & restart of the fibers tape during winding process; automatic handling operations of the liners or winded tanks and cured tanks between numerous equipment units in the production process and sophisticated curing oven that matches curing requirements of different resin systems. Winding machine is equipped with two winding carriages, one carriage for winding of main composite structure and one carriage for winding of outer protective layer, so that full continuous production of the CNG tanks is realized on same machine in single winding cycle. In total there are 24 servomotor controlled axes integrated in the filament winding machine itself, which makes it probably one of the most advanced winding machines in the world built so far.

What makes unique this production line is the flexibility to change production cycle from one tank size to another. When this is required, all programs, mechanical and electrical parts are automatically adjusted to the different CNG tanks sizes that are necessary to be produced. Possibility to make these changes and adjust the capacity of each single equipment station very fast increases productivity of the overall production line.

Control and monitoring of the work cell and whole manufacturing process is carried out from one place, TCON – Top level automation control system. It manages all modules in the integrated production line from one location while it records all important parameters, such as raw material consumption, complete set of production parameters, product tracking at every station and data for the multiple quality check points.

Control on the quality at every point of the production cycle is inevitable imperative. In order to reach high quality of the overall manufacturing process, it has been developed a control software and data acquisition system that enables customer to see the line in operation, investigate it and discuss any issues before accepting. After the production cell is installed in the customer facility, continued support via remote maintenance system is guaranted. Software is updated for the lifetime of the automated production line.