R&D At Work

A leading Aircraft OEM approached Ceramicx to help tackle thermal processing issues in the manufacture of some of its Carbon Fibre structures. 

 

The Aircraft client was experiencing an uneven heating spread throughout its stacked Carbon Fibre (CF) structures.Temperatures attained in the lower layers of the structure were simply insufficient to bring about adequate melting of the polymer binding, which had kept the matting in a rigid form during previous processing steps.

Ceramicx first carried out a number of tests on these CF stacks and established that short wave IR heaters would be optimal for heating and penetration of the CF matting

Initial tests on 13ply CF matting would allow heating in around 12-14 minutes.

The thermal mass of the client steel tool was extremely high and was hindering the heating of the CF stacks.

In addition to Infrared (IR) heating supplied from the top of the oven, preheating of the lay-up
surface was considered to be helpful in reaching the target temperature window of 90-130 °C within the 30 minute timeframe.

Infrared heating from the top would also be more beneficial if zoned. Therefore a controller and simple 5 zone system was provided.

Ceramicx therefore designed and created:
  • A multi-zoned preheating system and controller that was placed underneath the steel tool of the client.
  • A wheeled trolley for the above steel tool.
  • A large 2-piece IR shortwave platen suitable for use over the steel tool
  • The above platen was made to be flexible enough for use over or under a separate Carbon Fibre (CF) lay up tool and table.

 

Thanks to Ceramicx design-and-build and the potency of Short Wave IR radiation the client now enjoys fast cycling and effective production of composite parts.

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