Holger Kunz, Christian Löchte, Franz Dietrich, Annika Raatz, Fabian Fischer, Klaus Dröder, Klaus Dilger
August 12, 2014
The production rates of carbon fiber reinforced plastic (CFRP) parts are rising constantly which in turn drives research to bring a higher level of automation to the manufacturing processes of CFRP. Resin transfer molding (RTM), which is seen as a production method for high volumes, has been accelerated to a high degree. However, complex net-shape preforms are necessary for this process, which are widely manually manufactured. To face these challenges a new concept for the manufacturing of carbon fiber preforms with a form-flexible gripping, draping and joining end-effector is presented and discussed. Furthermore, this paper investigates the application of this concept, describes the initial build-up of a demonstrator, focusing on material selection and heating technology, and discusses test results with the prototype. This prototype already validates the feasibility of the proposed concept on the basis of a generic preform geometry. After a summary, this paper discusses future in-depth research concerning the concept and its application in more complex geometries.