Conference paper Open Access

Manufacturing process for automated preforming of complex, double-curved components based on the diaphragm method

Marian Körber; Manuel Endraß; Georg Braun; Varun Saravanam

At the German Aerospace Center (DLR), Center for Lightweight Production Technology (ZLP) Augsburg
automation solutions for manufacturing processes of extensive fiber composite components are developed. One
challenge in this context is the automated preforming process of complex, double-curved geometries. Here, dry
fiber cut pieces are transferred from a flat to a three-dimensional state. In order to fix the single layers of the
stacking, the fiber package is being compacted and the powder binder system is activated using thermal energy.
In addition, double-curved component geometries inhere particularly high requirements on the preforming
process, since the fiber materials must not only be deformed, but also be draped.
With the state of the art, the production of double-curved components can only be carried out manually, due to
the high process complexity. Therefore scientists at the ZLP Augsburg developed an integrated preform
manufacturing process, beginning at single cut piece handling till supply of the finished preform. Focus was set
on a diaphragm based preforming mechanism that can be directly controlled regarding its forming behavior on
the preform to ensure an adequate preforming of the carbon fiber semi-finished product.
This paper focuses the challenges of automated production processes for complex, double-curved component
geometries and presents one automation solution developed at ZLP Augsburg.

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