Automated Preforming

Preforming, particularly of dry textile fabric or other semi-finished products, is regarded as key technology in the production of continuous-fiber-reinforced plastic components by means of the RTM process (Resin Transfer Molding). We enable our customers to produce complex 3D component contours within short cycle times with robust process technology as well as reproducible preform quality.

With our innovative machine technology, we are setting new standards in producing dry fiber based reinforcements and prepreg materials. The transportation unit, adapted to the product specific geometry of the cutting, allows tension-free feeding of the individually cut fabric to the mould or an intermediate heating station. Alternatively, the material can be fed directly onto the lower tool outside the pressing unit by means of a shuttle table.

The core equipment consists of the draping tool, which can be opened and closed by the pressing unit. The lower part of the mould is rigid, whereas the upper part consists of segmented draping stamps, thus allowing a sequential forming of the semi-finished material. Handling units mounted in the working area of the pressing station coordinate the material transfer from the transport device onto the draping tool. Simultaneously to the closing of the draping tool, the handling units can induce local membrane tension to influence the draping process positively. In the course of an integral production process, it is possible to introduce additional component parts such as reinforcing elements or core materials for sandwich constructions.

The tempered draping tools allow both, the processing of thermoplastic and reactive binder systems in order to pre-consolidate the preform.

The movement of each individual draping stamp for closing the tool is realized by a servo-electric drive that can be positioned in an accurate repeatable manner. For a higher efficiency, the draping tools are integrated in a modular system. Compared to single tools, this reduces design costs considerably and enables the recycling of existing tooling.

The customized and component specific process can be programmed comfortably by means of the global control unit. A simulation based system and process pre-engineering allows for an efficient and economic design and noticeably reduces installation and commissioning of machines and tools.

The following additional features are available

  • Production of several parts in one machine by integration of process stations
  • Low pressure preforming for non-destructive or fabric treatment
  • Thermoplastic or reactive binder usage
  • Pretreatment integrated by full contact
  • Cost effective change over to intelligence in machine instead of mold
  • Product changes require only exchange of stamps and other parts with product contact
  • Integration of added value by robots like reinforcements, cores, a.o.

Key parameters are

Machine size 8 m x 3 m Table size 1,200 x 2,000 mm Tool weight max 3.5 t Handling units up to 6 units per table