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Automated stitching systems for composite production

News International-French

5 Aug 2011

The fabrication processes for fibre-reinforced composites, which are being used more and more for lightweight components, can always be made more efficient. In this area, the stitching of dry preforms has a high potential.

(Published on May 2005 – JEC Magazine #17)


Aware of the necessity to automate processes in order to produce composites at low cost, Altin Nähtechnik GmbH has developed modern stitching technologies and pioneered preform production using textile techniques.


Automated stitching systems can be used both to assemble and to reinforce structures. Shaping structures, fixation of patches to a fabric structure, and through-thickness reinforcement of textile components can all be done in a reproducible process using onesided stitching techniques such as Tufting and OSS®. The stitching tools are handled by robots to ensure the level of precision, repeat accuracy, and automation required for high-performance components. When one-sided stitching technology is used in combination with operation by a three-dimensional handling system, processing becomes possible nearly independently from geometry and dimension, and the stitching of large and complex structures (such as those found in the aerospace industry) becomes feasible.



About Altin
Altin Nähtechnik GmbH has valuable experience in the manufacturing of household and industrial sewing machines. Today, 125 years after the foundation of Altin, we are a highly technological firm of medium size. The development and manufacturing of innovative sewing techniques are the main business activities of Altin Nähtechnik GmbH. The customers are future-oriented firm with a high demand for quality and economy. Patented solutions, like the OSS® system that enables one-sided sewing in the three-dimensional space, and the permanent exchange with our international partners and customers affirm the success of Altin Nähtechnik GmbH. This is based on high quality production plants and development systems and not least highly-qualified employees.


3D profile assembly


For example, three-dimensional reinforcing profiles can be assembled and directly fixed to the area to be reinforced. In this case, stitching is used for joining, fixing or assembling. To guarantee the level of precision and repeat accuracy required by the high standards of aerospace, the material is fixed during the stitching process and only the stitching head moves. The materials are fixed in such a way that the layers are not displaced during the stitching process, which eliminates the risk of reorientation of fibre direction – a very important point for high-performance parts.


Altin’s systems are used by well-known companies and universities involved in R&D in the composite sector, including Drexel University in Philadelphia (USA) and the Dresden Technical University (Germany). Altin is currently negotiating with major suppliers of aircraft and automotive manufacturers. The company is also very experienced in preform production, and has already done some small-series manufacturing for the railway industry and prototyping of structures for the aerospace industry