Thermoplastics have always been mentioned as the future of composites, and have stayed that way for a while now. The high cost to manufacture more flexible shapes, the low productivity offered, and always the uncomfortable situation of in-situ consolidation, has left thermoplastics in use only in specialized parts that can be produced with confidence and cost. In recent years, the move to use more laser based heating systems during layup, has enabled a faster deposition rate, and a more consistent final structure. This is a large jump from torch based or more exotic forms of heating that never provided a large enough productivity to payoff as an investment. We will look at these recent advances in automated layup of thermoplastics, how things are becoming better and faster than before, and what challenges are still there left to solve.
- How are thermoplastics being used in automated layup equipment
- What performance you can expect in doing in-situ layup of thermoplastics
- What challenges still exist to make this more mainstream as compared to epoxy-thermoset
Why Is It Important?
Thermoplastic layup and recent advances are important to the composites industry because high performance thermoplastics are rarely used not due to their cost as material, but rather to their cost to manufacture properly. This presentation will discuss the significant progress that has been made to improve automated manufacturing using these high performance materials.