The vertically stacked towpreg and prepreg manufacturing system will be unveiled by Northwich, England-based Cygnet Texkimp, a composites technology business, at JEC World in Paris later this month. The full-scale Multi Roll Stack will be on display in Hall 5, Stand M72, during Cygnet Texkimp.
The company’s prepreg technology experts created the compact machine as a less expensive alternative to traditional prepreg processing in terms of capital expenditure, operating expenses, and energy requirements. It was created to produce high performance prepreg and towpreg materials more effectively and sustainably without sacrificing product precision, speed, or consistency, perhaps enabling a wider adoption of prepregs and towpregs that are less expensive.
The device was created as part of a UK partnership to create the the ability to produce high-quality, composites-intensive components quickly for high-volume markets. The Aerospace Technology Institute (ATI) and Innovate UK are supporting the four-year, £40 million ASCEND programme, which is being headed by Tier-1 aerospace supplier GKN Aerospace. The partnership, which consists of 14 UK organisations, including the National Composites Centre, includes Cygnet Texkimp as a partner.
The Multi Roll Stack is a fabric prepreg impregnation device that is UD (unidirectional) and made up of a number of compaction rollers arranged vertically. Compared to traditional in-line prepreg machines, which include independent compaction stations (compactors) organised in a horizontal line, this machine makes a significant change. The Multi Roll Stack, in contrast, has a single compaction module with numerous impregnation rollers stacked in a stack. vertically. According to Graeme Jones, Wide Web Product Director at Cygnet Texkimp, “This space-saving machine offers a technique to make towpreg and prepreg materials fast and correctly while giving major cost and energy benefits.”
Prepregs may be used more widely in high-volume and mainstream applications because this method of processing them is more economical and environmentally friendly.
The technology has undergone extensive testing, with very encouraging results including high precision, low coat weight prepregs of 112 gsm being accomplished at speeds of 10 metres per minute, with higher performance limitations still to be found.
The heated impregnation rollers in the Multi Roll Stack are frequently passed around by the material, increasing contact with the rollers throughout the process and lowering the energy needed to achieve resin impregnation. inside the fibres. One goal of the design was to lessen or eliminate the heating-cooling cycle that is typical of traditional in-line prepreg technologies in order to maintain a constant temperature for the material. This is significant because it leads to decreased energy usage, less material waste, and consistency and accuracy in the produced prepreg, which improves the component’s performance. The Multi Roll Stack is capable of producing precision towpregs using the same resin systems frequently utilised in the aerospace industry because to its high production speed and coat weight accuracy.
Cygnet Texkimp has reduced the machine’s footprint by more than 50% (with significant space savings compared to larger machines) and boosted processing speed by doing so. speeds. When compared to typical prepreg technologies, stacking the rollers within a single compaction module eliminates the need for several drive motors and heaters, which also cuts energy consumption and costs by more than half. As a result of the machine’s decreased web path and compact design, less material will be wasted.
Following JEC World, Cygnet Texkimp’s new Innovation Centre, located at its UK headquarters in Cheshire, will make the Multi Roll Stack available for industry trials.
One of the major providers of thermoset prepreg technologies worldwide, Cygnet Texkimp has designed and provided more over 30 UD and fabric thermoset prepreg lines to the aerospace, automotive, and industrial applications over the past ten years. In 2021, the business debuted The Direct Melt Impregnation Thermoplastic Composite Line is the first thermoplastic composite production line in the world that is commercially accessible. It can produce prepregs for high-grade thermoplastic composites on an industrial scale utilising conventional polymers like PEEK and polypropylene.