Composite materials are becoming increasingly commonplace as they are introduced into growing numbers of applications where their characteristics enable them to outperform more traditional materials like steel or aluminium. These advanced materials also require specialist technologies to perform the different operations needed to prepare, handle and process individual pieces, piles of dry fabrics, or components at the prepreg stage.Dorset based automation specialists Loop Technology is at the forefront of developing the technologies required for composite component manufacture with a wide range of systems including: layup, inspection and kitting, plus trimming systems which rely on Telsonic’s ultrasonics technology.
The growth in the use of composite materials is widespread across the aerospace, defence, automotive, marine and consumer sectors. Many of the components produced for these sectors have complex geometries, therefore when it comes to cutting or trimming, 6-axis robot technology in the form of Loop Technology’s FibreCut system offers both a comprehensive and flexible solution.
The FibreCut system draws upon the versatility and compact nature of Telsonic’s ultrasonic technology, to provide a powerful solution capable of making precision cuts on 3 dimensional composite preforms. Telsonic’s Martin Frost explains: “As a cutting method, ultrasonic technology has an established track record of precision and reliability, especially on materials and products that are difficult to process with conventional cutting technologies. The lightweight nature of the converter, booster and sonotrode arrangement means that it is easily integrated to robot systems to provide the highest levels of flexibility.”
Telsonic’s ultrasonic solution is based upon their MAG2012S generator (20kHz variant) and SE2012 converter. Cutting knives are designed to be readily interchangeable to suit different materials or depths of cut. Typical cutting performance on dry materials, and using a 70mm blade, is up to 200mm per second, with up to 70mm cutting depth in a single pass. For Prepreg material, the typical values for a 35mm blade range from 10 to 15mm per second with a 5mm depth of cut per pass.
The FibreCut system is also available with a wide range of auxiliary systems including: infrared temperature measurement, automatic broken blade detection, force torque monitoring and systems for particulate extraction, blade cleaning and blade alignment.
(Ultrasonic cutting blades are designed to be readily interchangeable)
Telsonic engineers worked closely with Loop Technology, performing a series of cutting trials to establish optimum cutting speeds and depths whilst minimising cutting forces on a range of material configurations. As the use of composite materials continues to expand in our manufacturing industries, the technologies and solutions from Loop Technologies, including the FibreCut system, are likely to become industry standards for a wide range of sectors.
Telsonic UK offer a comprehensive range of ultrasonic modules and systems for a variety of food cutting, plastic welding, cutting, sealing, cut’n’seal, metal welding, packaging, sieving, and cleaning applications within a wide range of industries.