humm3® Technology for Automated Layup of Thermoplastics

A flexible, controllable heat source for rapid layup of thermosets, dry fibre and thermoplastics

For Automated Tape Laying (ATL) and Automated Fibre Placement (AFP) manufacturers, the choice of heat source is no longer limited to laser, infrared, or hot gas.

One key challenge in automated layup processes such as ATL and AFP is to find a powerful, controllable and appropriate heat source for industrial manufacturing sites. A system for 16 quarter-inch tows has been developed in collaboration between the DLR Center for Lightweight-Production-Technology in Stade and Heraeus Noblelight (Cambridge, UK). The flashlamp technology has been applied to bindered dry fibre materials and thermoplastics using high-speed AFP robotic systems. The results of these trials show the high level of temperature control over a wide range of temperatures that can be achieved using a pulsed, broadband energy source. The suitability of the humm3® technology in terms of performance and safety for large-scale industrial integration was also demonstrated.

The flashlamp technology developed by Heraeus Noblelight and branded humm3® heating technology is a small, flexible and controllable broadband heat source for the layup of fibre-reinforced composite parts. The main advantages of the technology are: rapid uniform heating, equivalent to a laser; a high level control of the nip point temperature; scalable heating zone sizes; and enhanced safety, which makes enclosing the layup process unnecessary.

German Aerospace Center (DLR)

Institute of Composite Structures and Adaptive Systems

Andreas Kolbe · E-Mail: ·