The Project

Industrialisation of self heated composite tooling based on Tailored Fibre Placement Technology

GREEN-TOOLING

Research for the benefit of SMEs

 

Project No: FP7-SME-2013-605853Start date: 1/9/2013

End date: 30/8/2015

Participants: GMI, IDEC, MANDIOLA, QPOINT, TECNALIA

Coordinator: GMI Aero SAS

 

Abstract

Composite materials are starting to be used extensively in many industrial applications. This is the case for example of the transport (automotive, rail and aeronautic), marine, wind energy and construction industries. New developments such as textile preforming combined with liquid moulding technologies together with recent automation developments will support this tendency.

Although it seems that composite manufacturing technologies are already mature, actually they are not. The main bottle neck of composite materials lies in the productivity. Long cycle time associated to thermosetting resins is hindering a higher penetration in high volume sectors. And long cycle times are associated with the high energy consumption required to keep the whole mould mass at the curing temperature throughout the curing process (usually 2 to 6 hours plus heating and cooling).

GREEN-TOOLING addresses these issues by developing an advanced system for improving the heating step associated to most composite manufacturing processes. The main objective of the project is to develop self heated tooling (moulds and membranes) for the composites manufacturing industry in a robust and automated process. The thermal energy will be provided by a resistive layer, manufactured by Tailored Fibre Placement (TFP) technology, which will be embedded inside the mould or the membrane during its manufacturing process. The following applications will be demonstrated:

-        Membranes for aeronautic repair

-        Membranes for preforming

-        Membranes for infusion

-        Rigid tooling for RTM process

Currently, the companies involved in GREEN-TOOLING proposal, together with other RTDs and SMEs, are about to complete EMBROIDERY Collaborative Project (FP7, 262355). This project is devoted to the industrialisation and the search of new applications for the Tailored Fibre Placement (TFP) technology. One of the work packages of EMBROIDERY deals with the development of self heated moulds and membranes for composite manufacturing.