Through extensive experience and innovative technology, Techni-Modul Engineering (TME) has introduced intelligent automation to improve composite preforming operations. While the latest generation of robots on the market are able to accurately cut, pick and place; TME has introduced a robotic preforming cell able to cut, pick, place and fold woven plies into 3D shapes. Moreover an automated control system of the preform cell controls the good fiber orientation of all the plies before and after positioning on the compaction tool. Features such as automated compaction of stacked plies, robotic contour cutting for net shape molding and insertion into curing mold are integrated. These solutions will automate the fabrication of complex preforms and improve the quality, repeatability and accuracy while reducing the final cost per part, as needed to meet increasing market demand for aerospace and automotive applications. The robotic cell provides supervisory as well as production functionalities, adaptable to single part or multiple part configurations and for a variety of dry fiber or pre-impregnated materials and can be integrated in a full automatic production line.
The robotized preform cell include the following functions:
- The unroll of the material and flat cutting of the different plies.
- The lay-up and folding of the plies by robot directly on the 3D compaction mold by using specific gripper systems.
- The control of the fiber orientation by intelligent automation.
- The compaction
- The contour cutting of the sub-preforms
- The assembly of the sub-preforms and the closing of the injection mold
- Productivity: reduction of the cycle time
- The repeatability and reliability are proven by eliminating risks of errors and integrating control management.
- The quality of the preform is improved: no pollution, no disorientation, and no disorganization of the fibers.
- The working conditions are improved too: automation eliminates repetitive gestures of an operator, no concern for work postures doing repetitive tasks, carrying important loads or hazardous waste.
- Reduction of the cost per part