The new Quickstep QS-E250 plant has been designed to provide customers with a standardised product that offers a streamlined automated manufacturing solution.

The patented Quickstep Process is an out-of-autoclave composites manufacturing technique that uses a fluid-based technology for the curing or even partial curing and joining of composite materials. It works by trapping the laminate between a free floating rigid or semi-rigid mould that floats in a heat transfer fluid (HTF). The mould and laminate are separated from the circulating HTF by a flexible membrane or bladder. The HTF can be rapidly heated and then cooled to cure the laminate.

Quickstep managing director PhilippeOdouard says the QS-E250 machine is expected to bring significant cost efficiencies and enhanced performance characteristics for aerospace, defence, automotive and ballistics manufacturing.

“This new QS-E250 machine provides customers with the ability to purchase a ready-made industrialised Quickstep plant that can then be coupled to a Quickstep tooling solution to suit individual customer needs," he reports.

“The new machine is cheaper, has a significantly simpler operating system and offers increased flexibility for different processing applications and cure cycles than earlier plants. Customers can order multiple machines that have a standardised interface and operating profile to deliver a consistent and reliable manufacturing solution across their operations."

Following the successful development of this prototype model, Quickstep will now start taking orders for the QS-E250 plant.

The QS-E250 machine

Technical specifications for the Quickstep QS-E250 machine are:

  • 250 kW heating capacity;
  • 500 kW cooling capacity in total;
  • flow rate up to 60 m3/h within the complete temperature range (15-205°C);
  • operating pressure range: 5-80 kPa with pressure accuracy of ±1kPa;
  • heating rates up to 10 K/min;
  • ramp control with average or dynamic controlling;
  • cooling rates up to 10 K/min;
  • 4000 litre HTF storage tank;
  • storage tank is ready for additional H/C units;
  • footprint H/C unit: 2.4 m x 5 m x 2.1 m;
  • footprint storage tank: 1.6 m x 1.8 m x 3 m.