Solvay has announced the completion of its Double Diaphragm Forming (DDF) demonstrator line at its Heanor facility in the UK. The fully automated line goes from raw material to cured parts within a 3 minute takt time, opening new opportunities for high rate composite part manufacture.
The DDF method automates dry fibre pre-forming, prepreg pre-forming or press moulding into a single-step process speeding up the takt time involved in part making. Solvay says its DDF technology will also cut down on labour costs and processing times due to the two diaphragm layers preventing the need for tool preparation and cool down between mouldings. The diaphragm itself can act as a protective layer for painting and bonding operations.
Solvay R&I team has achieved a key milestone in the industrialization of composites, developing and building a line that illustrates the vast possibilities and increased rate capabilities that automation brings to both the automotive and aerospace industries. The huge market interest we are receiving is a testimony to our team’s vision for the future of the composites industry Carmelo Lo Faro, President of Solvay Composite Materials Global Business Unit
During the event, the company shared its industrialisation strategy before presenting its DDF technology and unveiling the new demonstrator line which will be used to develop, de-risk and validate the suitability of the technology for customers’ applications.