Picking up and depositing carbon-fiber materials automatically
Handling non-rigid, semi-finished products such as woven carbon-fiber mats is technologically a challenging task. So far, the human hand can pick up and deposit a semi-finished textile at a given point, more efficiently than any machine. Accordingly, the manufacture of semi-finished textile goods has traditionally been labor intensive and costly.
The Fraunhofer IPT has therefore developed a gripper system capable of picking up the semi-finished textile product automatically and depositing it as required – more reliably, reproducibly and accurately than a human operative and without damaging the delicate textiles. Electrostatic phenomena are the key. An electric charge is applied to the material. This causes an attraction between the material and the gripper which is sufficiently strong to lift the semi-finished product. Now, for the first time, the electrostatic gripper is also capable of positioning the object in its grasp accurately when it puts it down.
Modular gripper system for a range of manufacturing processes
The gripper can also be constructed in modular fashion. Consequently, it can be adapted to suit virtually any manufacturing process. In conjunction with an adaptive gripper arm and the facility to activate gripper elements individually, it is possible to pick up blanks from a cutting table and lay them down on a curved tool mold, for example. This enables the gripper to handle sheet materials and other flat semi-finished goods as well as carbon fiber materials.
During Composites Europe, The Fraunhofer IPT will present a gripper prototype which will demonstrate the capabilities of the system. The business unit “Lightweight Production Technology” will also present new scope for designing the manufacture of three-dimensional parts in automated tape laying operations as well as fiber-composite product development for medical engineering.
Dr.-Ing. Michael Emonts
Production Technology IPT
Telephone +49 241 8904-150
Fax +49 241 8904-6150
Joachim Riegel | Source: Fraunhofer-Institut
Further information: www.ipt.fraunhofer.de
Further Reports about: carbon-fiber materials > Composites Europe > delicate textiles > electrostatic > Electrostatic phenomena > IPT > Lightweight Production Technology > manufacturing process > pin-point accuracy
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