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A laser-assisted tape winding technology

7 Nov 2018

Inometa is a technological specialist in the development, production and refinement of technical lightweight products made of composites and aluminum. Inometa’s core competencies are high-quality and innovative lightweight construction solutions for customer-specific applications, including the development and production of thermally sprayed and composite-based functional surfaces.

The current product portfolio ranges from technical tubes, roller tubes, winding cores and high performance web guide and sensor rollers to anilox rollers, CFRP air cylinder sand CFRP  printing format adapters with supplementary flexographic sleeve systems to versatile functional and customer-specific coating systems. With these products, Inometa covers the entire range of high-tech rotating elements for the film, paper, printing, packaging and converting industry.

As an innovation specialist in the field of lightweight construction, Inometa is expanding its portfolio with new equipment technology for the laser-assisted and robot-based winding of thermoplastic tapes. The innovative system technology is implemented together with the specialized machine manufacturer AFPT, a pioneer in automated tape placement and winding equipment. In mid-2019, this technology module will be installed at Inometa’s site in Herford.

In contrast to filament winding of thermoset-based products, thermoplastic laser-assisted tape winding is a one-step, fully automated process that does not require a downstream curing process and therefore significantly reduces cycle times to enable an automated serial production. Furthermore, in thermoplastic winding, crucial quality parameters are already checked and documented during the manufacturing process. The laser heats and melts the thermoplastic tapes in a continuous process immediately before the precise robot-controlled tape winding sequence. Afterwards, the tape layers are welded together across the entire surface. The possibility of downstream functionalization, e. g. by injection molding makes thermoplastics particularly attractive for mass production and high volume quantities.

Goal of Inometa’s new manufacturing technology is to expand the current product range with new applications. The automated manufacturing process and the individually optimized machinery concept enable mass production with e. g.10,000 to several 100,000 components per year. In addition to current applications served by the existing product portfolio, thermoplastic lightweight components for series applications are designed, qualified and produced with partners from different industries. The applications range from inserts for a wide variety of injection molding processes to structural applications in the automotive and aerospace industry, as well as special components for the oil & gas sector, to large scale industrial applications in the fields of premium power tools and pump and vacuum technology equipment.

» Publication Date: 07/11/2018

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This project has received funding from the European Union Seventh Framework Programme (FP7/2007-2013) under grant agreement n° [609203].

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