Preforming Machine KV 298
Fully Automatic with Drapable Handling System
Rucks Maschinenbau GmbH, Glauchau, Germany, has manufactured a preforming machine Type KV 298 for the technical center of the BMW Group Munich, which is being used for developing innovative preforming elements, and where a particular attention was paid to the material handling. Apart from extremely high transfer speeds, the handling system can adjust flexibly to the various carbon-stack widths, and also has the possibility of draping prior to the pressing process.
The machine essentially consists of three stations: charging station, heating-, and forming station. The material is automatically transported between the three stations by a 3-axes linear system driven by a servo-motor. As the interaction between the linear system and the three stations has been optimized, the preforming process is executed fully automatically and guarantees reproducible results.
The charging station serves to position the carbon stacks, which are then automatically further processed. By means of two cross-line lasers, the individual layers can be aligned such that it is possible to achieve an exact fiber orientation. The width of the contact surface can be adjusted manually to respond to the different stack widths.
In the hot press with a pressing force of 70 kN, the carbon layers are tempered. A 5-zone-temperature regulation is responsible for evenly distributing the temperature across the heating surface, and a high-speed opening of 200 mm/s reduces the cycle times. In the hot press carbon stacks can be heated across the complete surface. In order to achieve this, the gripper system must be removed from the press area. Because of the thus developed solution, it is possible to deposit the stacks automatically and pick them up after the heating process is finished.
The forming station, where the carbon stacks are shaped into a 3-D pre-forming state, has a pressing force of 800 kN and is equipped with an active synchronisation control, which can achieve a plane parallelism of ≤ ± 0.05 mm/m, even in case of off-center stresses. The existing position control ensures the pressing plate to perform precise results of ≤ ±0.1 mm for path- and repeated actions.
A 3-axes linear system with exact positioning results of < ±0.25 mm, driven by a servo-motor, is used for an automatic and fast material transport. The X-axis is responsible for a fast material transport with speeds of up to 1,000 mm/s between the individual stations. The Y-axis carries out vertical movements, which are used for picking up and depositing stacks. The Z-axis enables carbon layers of various widths for a large diversity of components to be gripped. In case the Y- and Z-axis are moved simultaneously, the material can be draped via the bottom tool, minimising the warping of individual layers during the pressing process.
Rucks Maschinenbau GmbH
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