Analyzing Carbon Fiber Filament Damage

Posted by Maureen Redmond on Jan 8, 2021 8:37:27 AM

 

The handling and guiding methods of carbon fibers
to prevent filament damage is often overlooked. However, it is an extremely important factor in carbon fiber production and downstream processes using carbon fiber.

Redirection with sharp angles, use of guides without proper surface finish, excessive tension, static contact points: these are all factors that can induce damage to the filaments in the carbon fiber tow. Broken filaments not only degrade the strength of the carbon fiber, but also cause issues in processing leading to production downtime.

Broken filaments accumulate on rotating parts and will snowball into a mess quickly, which not only needs an operator to intervene but can stop production or create defects in the product.

The main reason proper assessments are not made for fiber damage caused by inadequate handling is that there have been no quantitative means to measure fiber damage. Read more to find out about tools to accomplish this and some analyzation studies.

 

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Topics: Carbon Fiber, Speed and Length Calibration, Tension Control

Dispensing with 6-Axis Robots

Posted by Maureen Redmond on Jan 7, 2021 2:04:36 PM

Dispensing by means of 6-axis robots is an efficient platform for various dispensing applications, when a 3-axis tabletop robot does not provide the flexibility required.

Software options are available to allow for path following of  3D CAD models or sketch patterns within a 3D model. Product models can be inserted into a simulated robot environment so that dispensing simulations can be generated offline. This enables the programmer to verify any axis limitations or collisions without taking the actual robot offline and prevents downtime of production.

Dispense verification options are also available to ensure proper dispense bead width tolerances are met, alert upon dispense failure, or for traceability requirements. Bead reconstruction or repair can be done on the spot to prevent product waste and down time.

Download a brochure for further details and options available.

Read the below to see which dispenser to equip on the 6-axis robot for certain applications.

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Topics: 3D Printing, Industrial Automation, Fluid Dispensing, Musashi

Karakuri (からくり) Automation Systems

Posted by Maureen Redmond on Nov 30, 2020 2:42:44 PM


Karakuri ningyo (からくり人形) are traditional Japanese automated puppets with origins dating back to the 7th century. Eventually, they gained widespread popularity around 17th century Edo period in Japan, when a theater opened in Osaka with Karakuri puppets on stage. These dolls relied solely on mechanical components such as springs or cams and clever engineering techniques to produce life-like movements, such as a tea serving doll or an archer doll which loads an arrow in his bow and shoots them one by one. Fast forward to present day 2020, and we live in an age where programmable logic controllers enable precise control sequences in millisecond increments, and 6-axis robots configure a completely automated production line. We now integrate sophisticated electronic controls to fulfill our industrial automation requirements.

However, there are still industrial automation processes that can be done by a fully mechanical, “Karakuri” type system. These systems would require no electricity, which could help achieve a green manufacturing target that may be required in a plant. Having no electronic controls also means lower cost, making integration of this type of automation affordable in situations where cost is a key

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Topics: Industrial Automation, Aluminum Extrusion, Robotunits, Conveyors

Powered Roller Conveyor Systems

Posted by Maureen Redmond on Oct 28, 2020 3:35:13 PM

The Powered Roller Conveyor System from Robotunits is a multi-faceted system that handles product transportation suited to your individual needs. It is designed for immediate use with any orientation or application, and can be combined with all products of the Robotunits Modular Automation System.
Special highlight: The integrated guarding block for Poly-V belts is an integrated part of the roller design and can be assembled without tools.

Facts Benefits
Fully integrated control units Plug & Play installation
Fully compatible in the Modular Automation System Accessible T-slots for attachments
Power transmission with Poly-V belts No additional guarding needed

Watch Video Here

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Topics: Industrial Automation, Aluminum Extrusion, Robotunits, Conveyors

Winders for Carbon Fiber and High-Performance Fibers

Posted by Maureen Redmond on Oct 27, 2020 9:42:12 AM

Winding fibers to produce bobbins or fiber packages is a necessary evil in many composite production processes. Winding is an intermediate step and does not contribute to the production of the final product. If possible, it would be preferred not to wind, and instead take the fibers directly to the final product.

However, composite manufacturing processes come in all shapes, speeds, and sizes, so integrating the composite manufacturing process with the actual fiber production process is impossible. Therefore, we are left with the task of winding the fiber to an easy to handle form to take it to the next process.

When winding carbon fibers in particular, there are three main objectives:

1 – Good build shape of package

2 – No twist in the fiber

3 – Minimal damage of the filaments

The means of achieving these properties vary depending on the type of fiber, number of filaments in the tow, sizing type/content and various other factors. This may require actual test winding, but typically we can assist you based on our decades of experience as well. Optimum winding parameters such as tension or wind ratios are difficult to determine without experience and our team of engineers can help you achieve the winding characteristic desired.

In this article, we would like to go over the different types of winders available and what applications they are the most fit for.

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Topics: Carbon FIbre, Carbon Fiber, Winders

Benefits of Non-Contact Jet Dispensers

Posted by Maureen Redmond on Oct 20, 2020 11:12:30 AM

A relatively new development in the world of fluid dispensers, the non-contact jet dispenser uses a jetting mechanism to drop fluids from a distance on to the substrate, so that the nozzle never touches the surface of the product. Jet dispensing is performed by high speed dot pulsations from the nozzle, therefore dot dispensing as well as connecting these dots to form line dispensing can be achieved.


These jetting solutions are developed by Musashi Engineering. Though relatively new in the U.S. market, Musashi Engineering is a global leader in fluid dispensing systems for industrial automation, and their product developers have fine-tuned their dispensers to provide the highest accuracy and lowest product rejection rates possible.

 

See some applications of the jet dispenser in this video. 

The guide below goes over some of the unique benefits the jetting systems can bring to the table, and also the various jet dispenser models available.

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Topics: Robotunits, Musashi, Jet Dispenser

The Importance of Monitoring the Tension of Fibers

Posted by Maureen Redmond on Sep 28, 2020 3:14:04 PM

In upstream composites production processes, it is often necessary to control a fiber 

or a band of fibers to an optimum tension value. However, identifying the correct tension is often overlooked, and production processes still utilize tensioning systems which were developed decades ago without much consideration.

If the starting tension at the creel is not controlled properly, then the final product may be constructed of fibers with varying tension. As a result, it will not fully utilize the strength of all fibers equally. This can degrade the mechanical properties of the final product.

 

 

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Topics: Carbon FIbre, Tension Control

Robotunits Conveyor Systems for Flexible Conveying

Posted by Maureen Redmond on Aug 21, 2020 1:35:43 PM

The main focus of the Robotunits technology is to offer quicker, more flexible, and more intelligent solutions. This is true in particular for the Robotunits Conveyors. The range includes high performance conveyors with a wide range of belt properties with or without cleats in different shapes and sizes. Accumulating, vacuum or magnetic conveyors and custom conveyors outside of the standard dimensions are also available by special order. The Belt Conveyor System is seamlessly integrated into the Modular Automation System: The extrusions and fasteners used in the conveyors systems are the same as the framework, making integration into equipment framework easy.

Izumi International can also integrate these conveyors into turn-key material handling solutions: for small scale systems which only require a single conveyor to large scale material handling projects requiring several conveyors.

There are a variety of conveyors in the lineup as shown below:

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Topics: Robotunits, Conveyors

The Essentials for Applying Sizing to Carbon Fibers

Posted by Maureen Redmond on Jul 20, 2020 10:29:26 AM

With the increasing variety of resin systems available for carbon fiber and other high-performance fibers, there is a growing need for development of sizing materials which interface well with each resin/fiber combination.

For the development of the sizing material, it is often difficult to experiment without obtaining un-sized fiber. Unless you produce the fiber in your own facility, in many cases it would be necessary to de-size the fiber first, and then apply the desired sizing materials.


Any handling process can damage the fibers, and de-sizing / re-sizing can be particularly abrasive to the fiber. Thus, equipment for this process needs to put this factor into consideration, and must be as gentle or even more gentle to the fiber as the in-line sizing process during the production of the fiber.

We can provide turn-key systems for single tow sizing development lines as well as multi-tow sizing lines for production scale output requirements. Single tow lines are scalable and configurable: in many cases they are compact table-top units. Production scale lines incorporate industrial-grade equipment, same as the equipment we provide for fiber production plants.

See below for some considerations for specifying the right equipment for the sizing line you may need.

 

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Topics: Carbon Fiber, Industrial Automation, Speed and Length Calibration, Robotunits, Tension Control

The Importance of Tension Control for Carbon Fiber Processes

Posted by Maureen Redmond on Jul 9, 2018 2:25:53 PM

The importance of the accuracy of the tension coming off of a creel or let-off is forgotten at times.  Extensive design effort is put into the equipment to actually produce the sheet or tube formed from carbon fiber, but in many cases the front end of this process is overlooked.

The accuracy of tension coming off of the creel can influence the mechanical properties of the part, and either enhance or degrade it depending on the tension control. In some cases, it is not the absolute value of tension which is important, but the minimization of deviation of tension between ends. A single tow of fiber with higher tension than the others could degrade a UD sheet or a pultruded part….etc.

We have many success stories from our customers implementing our creels. Uniformity and improved characteristics of a UD sheet or tape, better mechanical properties observed in a pultruded part, stronger filament wound products, and better strength in a woven fabric.

See the details below for further types of creels available.

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Topics: Carbon Fiber, Tension Control