Alfond Advanced Manufacturing Lab For Structural Thermoplastics

Automated Tape Layup Cell

Tape Layup CellDieffenbacher-FiberForge RELAY 2000 – Dieffenbacher-FiberForge


The Fiberforge RELAY 2000 Station (“RELAY,” or, “rapid, efficient layup,”) is used to describe the process of automated thermoplastic tape placement combined with multi-ply bonding. Durability and lightweighting for industries such as automotive and aerospace is achieved through the use of a tape layup cell, a vital process in the engineering of oriented fiber composites. Continuous-fiber-reinforced thermoplastics allow improved material strength through the use of pre-consolidated, unidirectional (UD) thermoplastic tapes. UD-thermoplastic tapes are cut to size and laid down by the RELAY Station on a 2-axis, rotating vacuum table.The tapes are held initially by the vacuum motion table and tacked in place by the system’s 18 ultrasonic welders. These unconsolidated tailored blanks maintain highly accurate fiber orientation, ideal for consolidation by heat and pressure in the thermoforming cell. These consolidated thermoplastic blanks are later thermoformed to the desired geometry. The speed of the RELAY system and software further contributes to reduced material costs and cycle times.

Additional information about tape layup machine

The RELAY Station 2000 includes a rapid tape dispensing system, which feeds thermoplastic tapes through a track positioned above a two-axis motion table. This system develops custom tailored blanks of fiber-reinforced resin-impregnated thermoplastic tapes by placing and stacking them over a rotating and translating vacuum motion table. The first ply is held by vacuum to the table surface, while all subsequent plies are rapidly welded using the 18-ultrasonic welders oriented above the table. This system can support up to two different types of thermoplastic tape that range from widths of 50mm – 150mm (2”- 6”). This system is not limited by the type of polymer you wish to process. Final parts can be up to 60% lighter than steel and 30% lighter than aluminum and the overall process can have up to a 60% reduction in waste during production.