Automated Tape Laying

Automated tape laying offers homogeneous exposure, controlled heating and a sped-up process flow to create high-quality composite parts for the onshore and offshore industry.

The Process: Tape Laying Machine

The tapes are from unidirectional thermoplastic continuous filaments that are partially pre-impregnated with adhesive resin.  Like a tape, they are rolled onto a reel and this is how they are integrated into the manufacturing system. Its feed unit draws the tape from the role and a robot places it on the work platform or the semi-finished component in the required position. There, it is melted by heating with a laser to increase the grip of the adhesive. In this way, and step by step, exactly-contoured continuous filament structures with high firmness are established through automated fiber placement.

The process advantages of the diode lasers

The biggest advantages of Laserline's diode lasers are their homogeneous intensity distribution in the focus which can even be optimized with special optics, and a precise temperature regulation which enables controlled melting. Together, both make a direct completion of the component possible and thus speed up the tape laying process significantly. 

Case studies

LDMdirect 2000

Ultra-compact direct diode laser for heat treatment applications with a housing width of only 50 mm. The processing head with integrated beam source and optics generates rectangular and fully homogenized laser spots that can be adapted to process requirements. Multiple processing heads can be cascaded forming a system setup.

Applications

Diode lasers have been used in the manufacture of CFRP components since 2009. When tape-laying and tape-winding fibre-reinforced plastics, the tapes that have been deposited or wound are welded using lasers. The improved mechanical properties for products and weight savings of up to 70 percent lead to a continuous increase in applications with CFRP (carbon fiber-reinforced plastic) components. However, current production systems with a single machining head are limited in their maximum yield. In order to increase the production capacity of strip application systems, Laserline developed a modular direct diode laser with a housing width of less than 50 mm. The design allows the integration of several heads in one clamping. The processing head with integrated laser source and optics generates a rectangular, fully homogenized laser beam that can be adapted to the strip sizes. The maximum laser power of over 2 kW per processing head ensures high process speeds and reliable melting of the strip material. A high working distance of more than 200 mm enables contamination-free and collision-free production. The use of exclusively industry-proven standard components ensures a fast and reliable process start-up. 

Tape winding of pipes

At the tape winding of pipes, the thermoplastic band is laid around a preform and melted. The process requires a quick and (regarding the exposure area and exposure time) an exact controlled heat input. With Laserline's diode lasers, this goal can be reliably achieved. Customer individual homogenization optics that can be integrated into the head of a tape laying robot as well coaxial multi point temperature regulations guarantee a gentle heating of the material. Tape winding on the basis of diode lasers can achieve process speeds of several meters per minute and is applicable with just about any component geometries.

Since 2009, Laserline's diode lasers are used by the AFPT GmbH for manufacturing CFK mass-produced components by tape winding machines. With special homogenization optics, tape laying speeds of several meters per minute can be reached at a very well-processed efficiency.