Die-less forming of fiber-reinforced plastic composites
Flexible Automation and Intelligent Manufacturing: The Human-Data-Technology Nexus; Proceedings of FAIM 2022: 3-14 (2023)
Contribution to Conference
Fiber-reinforced plastics (FRP) are increasingly popular in light weight applications such as aircraft manufacturing. However, most production processes of thin-walled FRP parts to date involve the use of expensive forming tools. This especially hinders cost-effective production of small series as well as individual parts and prototypes. In this paper, we develop new possible alternatives of highly automated and die-less production processes based on a short review of current approaches on flexible thin-walled FRP production. All proposed processes involve robot guided standard tools, similar to incremental sheet metal forming, for local forming of the base materials. These include woven glass fiber fabrics which are locally impregnated with thermoset resin and cured using UV-light, woven commingled yarns made out of glass fibers and thermoplastic fibers which are locally heated and pressed, as well as pre-consolidated thermoplastic organo sheets which require selective heating for forming. General applicability of the processes is investigated and validated in practical experiments.