Electroimpact using automated fiber placement (AFP) processing technology and a new laser heating system.
Electroimpact using automated fiber placement (AFP) processing technology and a new laser heating system.

Victrex says that laydown speeds of its thermoplastic uni-directional tape (UDT) has been increased to reach 4000 inches per minute (IMP).

This speed was achieved by aerospace tooling manufacturer Electroimpact using automated fiber placement (AFP) processing technology, and a new laser heating system, the company said.

Currently, large composite structures in aerospace such as wings and fuselage are generally thermoset based. However, thermoset composites often require a lengthy cure in an autoclave large enough for the structure, using a considerable amount of energy to operate, Victrex said.

‘The significance of processing thermoplastic UDT at 4000 IPM layup speeds with the variable spot size (VSS) laser is, for the first time that we know of, that thermoplastics are able to achieve thermoset layup speeds,’ said Michael Assadi, chief engineer at Electroimpact. ‘These developments can help eliminate the need for autoclave cure, offer major and new, throughput advantages for thermoplastics.

‘We are really excited to offer this new laser technology and using the high-performing LMPAEK composite material from Victrex on a broader scale to meet unmet customer needs,’ he added. ‘I’m convinced, that based on ongoing in-depth support from Victrex at every stage of the project, high speed production and high performance of the advanced VICTREX AE 250 UDT will enable the production of large-scale aerospace structural components in the years to come.’

This story uses material from Victrex, with editorial changes made by Materials Today. The views expressed in this article do not necessarily represent those of Elsevier.