Setforge uses 9T Labs technology to continuously produce composite parts | Composite Materials World

2021-12-16 08:13:51 By : Ms. Sunny Feng

The former metal parts forge used 9T Labs' Red Series Additive Fusion Solution platform to seek disruptive manufacturing of high-performance CFRTP parts for current and new markets.

Image source: 9T Lab, Setforge

For more than a century, Setforge (a subsidiary of the Farinia Group in L'Horme, France) has been forging and processing high-volume precision metal components for demanding industries such as automotive and aerospace. However, in order to maintain a leading position and adapt to changes in the times, the company has invested in technology that enables it to quickly and cost-effectively design and produce high-performance carbon fiber-reinforced composite parts to significantly replace steel, aluminum and titanium. Lower quality. In order to promote the expansion of advanced composite materials, Setforge became an early partner of the hybrid manufacturing solution OEM 9T Labs AG (Zurich, Switzerland), and has now begun to screen new series part applications for its Red Series Additive Fusion Solution platform located in L On production' Holmes, France.

Setforge stated that it will be able to produce up to 5,000 carbon fiber composite parts each year with dimensions up to 350 x 270 x 250 mm.

"We chose their Red Series Additive Fusion Solution platform, which is an all-in-one solution that combines software, hardware, and support. Setforge's R&D project manager Damien Felix explained that Fibrify software allows us to design fiber-filled parts , We can only place it where we need it, and it is directly linked to commercially available structural simulation software. "The combination of additive manufacturing [AM] and molding is unique. We can provide reproducible and cost-competitive structural components. 9T Labs' expertise in composite materials helps us determine the right application and easily design load-customized parts. If needed, we can even place metal inserts before we densify the fibers and reduce porosity. We end up with a finished net shape part with a high fiber ratio and low porosity, which carries a specific load that is four times that of steel. "

Compared with other high-speed carbon fiber processes, parts with optimized weight-to-performance ratio and higher mechanical properties can produce near-net shapes. What are their market uses? Didier Henry, Director of Setforge, said the answer is "Any market dominated by aluminum and titanium, or any market where strong and lightweight components are valuable. These components can even be used to replace other needs to be improved. , Composite parts that reduce weight and make them stronger."

Setforge said that with the establishment of 9T Labs' first carbon fiber additive manufacturing capability, it will be able to produce up to 5,000 carbon fiber composite parts each year with dimensions up to 350 x 270 x 250 mm. With the increase in production capacity in 2023 and beyond, Setforge expects to be able to produce 100,000 parts per year and expand the size of the parts.

"Through the Red series, we want to propose using composite materials to replace metal parts in our current markets, such as automobiles or aerospace, but we also want to propose innovative solutions for new markets-for example, luxury goods, sports, medical, exoskeleton [ For example, wearable ergonomic lift assist systems] and drones," Felix added. (See "9T Labs evaluates AM for medical and aerospace applications.")

9T Labs' hybrid advanced manufacturing technology enables high-performance structural components—challenging small and medium sizes and thick sections—to be produced in carbon fiber reinforced thermoplastic composites (CFRTP), with output ranging from 100 to 10,000 pieces per year. By combining 3D printing (providing design freedom, part complexity and fiber orientation control) with compression molding in matching metal molds (providing fast cycle time, high productivity, excellent surface finish and low voids, as well as high repeatability and reproducibility ) In combination, it is reported that the hybrid production system provides the best choice for additive manufacturing and subtractive manufacturing.

The company’s patented Red Series Additive Fusion solution platform includes a building block — a 3D printer that provides fiber layup and preform production — and a Fusion module — a compact compressor that provides preform consolidation and final Parts are formed. The hardware is supported by 9T Labs' Fibrify Design Suite. The software allows importing CAD files, optimizing part design and fiber laying, and then transferring to major commercial structural analysis programs to verify structural performance. According to 9T Labs, this eliminates the expensive and time-consuming “make and destroy” cycle of designing parts, producing and testing prototypes, and further modifying the design to more closely meet performance and cost goals. In turn, this helps manufacturers bring parts to market faster and at a lower cost.

In short, the system can quickly, efficiently, consistently and cost-effectively produce high-complexity CFRTP composite structural components, from initial prototype design to mass production. In addition, the use of proven industry standard materials-high-performance pure (unreinforced) and carbon fiber reinforced polyamide 12 (PA12), polyphenylene sulfide (PPS), polyether ketone ketone (PEKK) and polyether ether ketone (PEEK) -Lightweight structural composite parts that replace metals in challenging environments can be produced in a cost-effective manner through low waste, improved purchase-to-flight ratio, and high-level R&R. Since the thermoplastic matrix can be melt-reprocessed, scrap and parts can be recycled, and multiple 3D printed subassemblies can be welded together in the fusion step.

The structure produced by the continuous compression molding process is 30% lighter than aluminum, and the cost is the same as that of Airbus and Boeing.

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