September 12th, 2019, The Hague – Everybody knows 3D printing and how easy it is to use. From today people can use the same principles for their composite parts. Airborne has created the world’s first portal to design and print composite parts, produced by industrial and qualified automated manufacturing systems.
In essence, composite
manufacturing is already an additive manufacturing process in which layers of
materials are added to each other to create the laminate of the composite part.
The challenge is much more to close the loop and have a fully automated
workflow from design to manufacturing, so that you can really ‘print’ a part.
Instead of using new processes like 3D printing that are still under
development, Airborne wants to enable printing with existing, industry-proven
and qualified automated manufacturing processes.
Web-based portal easy to use
Airborne has created a
web-based platform where anyone can design composite parts and get direct
feedback on performance and price. With this feedback the user can optimise the
design for his or her specific use-case and order the part. The first
application of the portal is for thermoset laminates manufactured in prepreg
material by the Automated Laminating Cell (ALC) technology of Airborne.
Combining three functionalities in one system
This robotised system
combines three functionalities in one system. The first is to create the
laminate by Automated Tape Laying. The second step is to cut the laminate into
the required shapes and this can be used to nest multiple parts in one larger
laminate. The third step is pick & place which can be used to place local
patches on the laminate, or to combine sub-laminates into new, larger
Adding other automated solutions in the future
The portal is now
operational for thermoset prepreg laminates made with the ALC system. Airborne
plans to add its other automated solutions to this portal as well.
The digital future of
Mr. Marcus Kremers, CTO Airborne: “This portal is a key building block of how we see the digital future of composite manufacturing. It demonstrates how intuitive, easy and fast it will be to design and use composite products. One doesn’t need to be a specialist anymore, all the know-how of composites and automation is embedded in algorithms and is fully automated. This will dramatically lower the cost of composites but also radically reduce the development time and speed up the adoption, so that composites can be used widely to make the world more sustainable and efficient.”
More information on the portal can be read in the latest blog by Marcus Kremers published on Linkedin.