One leading engineering client of Ceramicx, for example, is undertaking a major three-year project to develop new and innovative processes that will enable it to design and manufacture advanced lightweight composite components for the aerospace industries.
|The Aerospace sector is famed for its ability to pull through cutting edge innovation in material fabrications.
Ceramicx has been playing its part in the next phase of the customer’s growth by contributing to the latter’s investment in a state of the art multi-functional manufacturing cell. This facility is configured to produce complex advanced composite component, allowing for not only high volume manufacturing as well as bespoke one–off parts.
Ceramicx developed bespoke Infrared-based heat platens specifically for the advanced manufacturing unit. These were designed to integrate into the client’s Engel V-duo vertical injection moulding press, fitted with a 6 axis robot.
The Ceramicx oven order comprised 2 x 1840 x 1080 mm black hollow platens producing an output of 179.2 kW total (89.6 ea). The platens were oven mounted at height of 3450 mm.
The Ceramicx customer processes a great variety of polymers and its advance manufacturing cell is used to heat high grade thermoplastic carbon fibre materials such as PEEK, PEKK, PPS & Nylon. These are typically used in aerospace applications and are typically processed at high temperature (> 425°C).
The Ceramicx heating unit is controlled via a Siemens HCS system. This allows for ‘heatwork recipes’ to be programmed in and stored. The Company's manufacturing process typically calibrates a time for a material sheet (size and thickness) to heat.
Ceramicx Infrared technology was specified from the outset. Heating to 425°C poses many technical challenges. Not many materials can withstand this kind of temperature and many conventional ovens struggle with this kind of temperature and with the speed needed to form the parts. After a period of research and development Ceramicx established that ceramic-based hollow elements were the best technology to use and oven platen design and construction began.
Meantime Ceramicx’s client plans to carry out further development of the cell to maximise its integration. Even at this early stage, it is clear that the new cell will face heavy demand from automotive, aerospace and defence related manufacturing sectors. Its high levels of control, data recording and quality engineering are designed to service the most demanding of applications.