The robotic composite fibre braiding machine.
Fokker and NLR have opened in Marknesse a manufacturing plant for composite aircraft components. The plant will produce composite landing gear components while also developing new manufacturing techniques for high performance composites. Other high-tech companies that develop composites can also use the facility for testing their materials and automating production processes. Ineke Dezentjé Hamming-Bluemink, CEO of FME and initiator of Smart Industry, officially opened the Pilot Plant.
The new ‘Automated Composite Manufacturing Pilot Plant’ is widely regarded as a key step in developing expert knowledge of composites in the Netherlands. Composites are increasing replacing steel or aluminium parts in the aviation industry; moreover, composites are often stronger, more sustainable, less expensive, and capable of being applied in a wide variety of areas.
(GREENSBORO, NC) – Highland Industries, Inc. has signed an agreement with Eurocarbon B.V. for the exclusive manufacture and sale of braided and woven products utilizing Eurocarbon’s proprietary braiding technology in North and South America.
Eurocarbon uses carbon, glass, aramid, polyester and other polymeric yarns to produce tubular and flat braids, woven tapes and fabric. Eurocarbon B.V. is recognized as the industry leader for producing over braided preforms for structural applications that are later resin treated. The resulting composite materials can be engineered to create strong, lightweight, and cost-effective alternatives for use in a wide range of applications.
“Eurocarbon’s innovative technologies make them an ideal strategic partner for us,” says David Jackson, Highland President and COO. “This partnership adds to our portfolio of high tech applications for enhancing safety and further extends the broad range of capabilities we can bring to our customers’ design challenges.”
“We are pleased to be working with Highland,” says Arnold Voskamp, President of Eurocarbon. “Their team is knowledgeable, capable, and enthusiastic about building the markets for braided solutions in the western hemisphere.” Customers will be able to work with Highland and Eurocarbon design teams on braided solutions immediately.
A new fibre-overbraiding technique has the potential to improve efficiency in the production of composite structures. A new simulation programme reduces costly trial runs with the modern overbraiding machine.
NLR is assisting company Eurocarbon with the refinement of braiding technology used to produce hollow composite structures. The project – ‘Innovating the overbraiding design process to optimise the development of composite aircraft structural components’ (OBODAS) – focuses mainly on efficiency. The simulation programme will enable Eurocarbon to achieve significant savings in development and production costs for composite structures. On paper, the principle of overbraiding is simple: a machine equipped with dozens of spools, wraps fibres around a mould that is shaped like the composite component to be produced. The fibre form is then impregnated with resin, which results in the composite structure. But the process has drawbacks. The shape of the structure can affect the distribution of the fibre layers and thus in turn alter the material properties of the entire composite structure. To counteract these adverse effects, the braiding machine has to undergo trial runs to determine the correct settings. These tests are costly in terms of both labour and material. This is where the results of the OBODAS project are helpful.
NLR engineers based the development of this simulation environment on Knowledge Based Engineering techniques, applying available knowledge of the overbraiding process to simulate and optimise all aspects of the process. The data generated by the simulation programme can be directly converted into settings for the overbraiding machine. Trials with the simulation programme, including the user interface, have already confirmed that OBODAS works effectively.
In the OBODAS project, NLR worked in collaboration with the University of Twente and Eurocarbon. The project was supported by NL Agency of the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs.