Outlook for composites in 2012: upward trend set to continue
- LMT’s cutters, drills, reamers and custom-developed specialized tools for specific applications are precisely tailored to the demands made by composite materials,” explains Xia Xu, head of Composites & Plastics at LMT.
Shift in favour of the car industryIn contrast, different industries’ share of this growing success has remained largely constant over recent years. “Only a slight shift in favour of the car industry has been observed,” says the AVK. In the case of CFRP with epoxy and phenolic resins, for example, 29% of the total amount processed is used in the aerospace sector, 19% in the construction of rotor blades for wind turbines, 13% in sporting goods, 12% in the transport sector (car making), 10% in industry and 9% in the medical field.
Machining problems under controlDepending on the field of application, there are naturally completely different CFRP materials available. There are not only differences in their matrix, but they are also frequently combined with different materials. In the car industry, for example, components consisting of CFRP and layers of aluminium or titanium are used, while in the aircraft industry production planners have to deal with the challenges of components made of “stacks” of different material layers. In order to be able to manufacture composite components within the framework of high-volume production processes the machines used have to guarantee long-term quality and process reliability. One of the key processes here is finishing. That’s why the requisite machining tools receive special attention when it comes to the cost-effective processing of CFRP materials. Major problems are created, for example, by fibre separation or the overheating of the composite material. In addition, the highly abrasive nature of these materials means that tools have to be extremely well-protected against wear and tear in order to achieve the required operating life.
Avoiding delamination“Ultimately it is always a matter of producing smooth, straight and burr-free edges at high feed rates. LMT’s cutters, drills, reamers and custom-developed specialized tools for specific applications are precisely tailored to the demands made by composite materials,” explains Xia Xu, head of Composites & Plastics at LMT. The tool’s blade geometry and coating as well as its substrate ensure that delamination is avoided and perfectly cut edges are produced.
Are you interested in developments and tool innovations concerning composites machining? Register for our newsletter Performance News Flash. We'll keep you updated on the segment Composites & Plastics.