Dieffenbacher has announced it has acquired the Relay machinery, expertise and intellectual property rights of Fiberforge, as the company look to add automated tape placement technology to its product range.
The tape lay up technology facilitates the manufacture of components made from continuous-fibre-reinforced thermoplastics based on uni-directional fibre tapes (UD fibre tapes). Such components are of major interest to both the aerospace industry and in the field of lightweight automotive design. Fibre tapes are available in a wide range of material combinations with different resin system and fibre materials like glass fibres or carbon fibres. The UD fibre loading has typically extremely high fibre weight contents of between 60 and 70%.
In addition to applications using fibre tape structures alone, Dieffenbacher is planning to integrate the tape lay up technology into the LFT-D system to create the Tailored LFT-D technology. By combining these materials, components with local UD fibre-tape reinforcement for specific applications can be manufactured. These components can subsequently be integrated into large-scale production to achieve high levels of structural rigidity at a low-cost.
This process provides a high degree of flexibility when it comes to the structural design of the components. As a result, various material variants can be manufactured economically on a single system. By combining the tape lay up process and the direct method for producing long-fibre-reinforced thermoplastics, Dieffenbacher is relying on its holistic system approach and offering innovative expertise from a single source.