AFPT is a start-up company that provides laser-assisted technology for the production of a pressurized component such as tube, pressure vessel, etc made from or strengthened by fiber reinforced plastic (FRP) tape. The tape is laid precisely by a machine head (connected to a robot), melted with a laser, and consolidated on to the surface with a pressure roller. This process is known commercially as tape winding/laying process. The aim of this project is to wind a very long tube (endless tube) with the FRP tape. The problems are the current system has limitation in the movement (±4m length tube) and tape winding speed (±0.2-0.4 m/s). Thus, a new machine is required for this application. The new machine is consists of several tapes that are slided, feeded, and consolidated at the nip point of a rotated doughnut roller and the endless tube. Hence the tapes will be wrapped around the tube when the tube is pulled out axially. The concept is designed by external contractor Absolid bvba. For the heat source, the new machine is required to have a ring-shape laser beam with uniform intensity for uniform melting of all the tapes on the doughnut roller. This ring laser is constructed by passing several standard laser beams (rectangular beam) through special metal mask modeled by Solidworks. The problem is the thermal management due to the heating of the mask. Thermal model with Comsol Multiphysics and experimental test are performed for determining the material and for dimensioning of the mask. Based on the thermal simulation model and experiment, Copper is selected as the metal mask because of its high thermal conductivity (k) and its high melting temperature (Tm) compare to other commercially available material such as Aluminum and Steel. On this project, first proof-of-principle prototype is also built and tested. Remaining work that still need to be done are conception of consolidation force, integration of the parts into the full machine, installation of the cooling unit (for cooling the aperture) and the control system (for the laser power regulation).
|Award date||6 Dec 2012|
|Place of Publication||Eindhoven|
|Publication status||Published - 2012|