Adaptive Tooling Technology for Agile R&D and Mass-Customization of Composite Parts

Reconfigurable Moulding for new Horizons with Composite Materials

During the past 10 years, the composites industry experienced an immense upswing. Automation, cost reduction and an increase in lightweight design have been at the forefront of development. The automotive industry became a technology driver as an expected major customer of composite materials. A major advantage of fibre composites, however, was largely neglected: the combination of high flexibility with outstanding mechanical performance. The usability of this property of the material, which is ultimately even suitable for mass customization, has so far always been limited by the high costs of the tools and moulds that are necessary in every fibre composite manufacturing technology and for every new geometry to be built.

Pin tools: Fast prototypes, agile Research and Development and individualized Components with Automated Actuation

This is where the reconfigurable DYNAPIXEL tool system comes in. By means of a discretization of the tool surface with actuated pins, rapid prototypes or customer-specific components can be created without recurring tooling costs. An elementary constituent for the efficient use of the tool is a closed digital process chain. The DYNAPIXEL software uses script-based generation of support points directly in CAD and the seamless transfer of this data to the control software of the DYNAPIXEL tool. This also enables fast, adaptive production of components.

Broad field of applications whereever you need a reconfigurable mould: Composite Manufacturing, Preforming or Adaptable Bonding Fixtures

Possible areas of application of the tool are, for example, tailor-made medical products such as orthoses or small series in R&D and fast prototypes. Material-wise, thermoplastic organic sheets, prepregs and dry reinforcements in combination with vacuum infusion can be processed. For manufacturing of consolidated components, the characteristic surface structure resulting from the nature of the tool must be considered but can also be seen as a specific functionality or design feature. For every application where flexibility has higher priority than the surface requirements, DYNAPIXEL is an interesting technology.

Discrete Moulds

When DYNAPIXEL is used as a flexible preforming tool for forming flat semi-finished products or for direct fibre placement, this disadvantage is eliminated because consolidation takes place in a separate step. This opens a promising field of applications, especially in process pre-development and the optimization of component geometries regarding drapability.

 

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