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The Landau-based company from the Pfalz, Germany, produces a multifunctional composite press for the DLR to be fitted with high-temperature heating and cooling platens and an infrared heating system.
In addition, the plant will have a transfer system which transports components from the infrared oven into the press and the plant's loading and unloading points. The press will also be fitted with a plane-parallelism control for maximum accuracy in the pressing process. The composite press achieves a plane-parallelism tolerance of 0.025 mm during the pressing process. Integration of additional path measurement with a resolution of 1 µm on the tool itself will aid high-precision production. The controls feature a choice between 'press path measurement' and 'tool path measurement'.In the DLR Center for Lightweight Production Technology (ZLP), a new production cell is being developed for processing complex thermoplastic fiber composite materials. One main use for the plant will be to aid research into production technologies for the automated production of components made of carbon fiber reinforced plastic. The design of the new composite press is intended to enable maximum flexibility for research into a wide variety of processes and components. Essentially, the ZLP is aiming to reform or consolidate carbon fiber reinforced plastics with a thermoplastic matrix. Therefore is also the possibility of working with high-performance thermoplastics such as carbon fiber reinforced polyetheretherketone (CF/PEEK).As a solution for the DLR's requirements, Wickert proposed an upper ram press, type WKP 4400 S Composite. Particular technical requirements can be addressed by integrating a wide variety of optional packages straight into the main plant. When fitted with the right options, the plant can process different kinds of materials, such as PEEK or PPS. With a heating platen size of 1,800 x 1,200 mm, the press has a pressing force of 4,400 kN and a minimum pressing force of only 25 kN. Heating platen temperatures can be controlled precisely between 40°C and 450°C. Maximum tool weight can be as much as 12,000 kg. The maximum transfer time from initial movement to complete closure of the press and maximum pressing force is five seconds.The whole research cell for efficient composite production is being installed in the technology hall of the ZLP in Augsburg. Some existing structural facts need to be addressed as we do this. For example, an existing infrared oven has to be integrated into the plant. As part of the process of adapting to the press system, the company is converting the existing infrared system and extending it to meet the requirements of future production tasks.Center for Lightweight Production TechnologyThe Center for Lightweight Production Technology (ZLP) at the Augsburg and Stade sites is a research institute of the German Aerospace Center. Together with the DLR Institute of Construction Methods and Structural Technology in Stuttgart, the DLR Institute of Fiber Composite Lightweight Construction and Adaptronics in Braunschweig and the DLR Robotics and Mechatronics Center in Oberpfaffenhofen, the intention is to optimize the process chain for the development and production of components made of carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFC) in the DLR. The objective of DLR research in Augsburg is the development of a thoroughly automated production process based on robotics capable of cutting production costs and increasing productivity and manufacturing quality at the same time. More information: www.wickert-presstech.de