TopTape - Tape winding process with integrated quality assessment program


Over the past 20 years, there has been a constant upward trend in the application of fiber reinforced plastics, mainly driven by the automotive, aviation and energy industries. Welding type processes such as laser-assisted tape winding (LATW) by AFPT GmbH are suitable for the economical processing of continuous fiber reinforced thermoplastics. With this method, structural components, such as hydrogen pressure vessels, can be manufactured out of band-shaped semi-finished materials without the need for complex pre or post processing.

Although a high degree of automation has already been reached with LATW, there are still some manual processing steps required. Additionally, no simple and efficient methods for the assessment of the component quality are available to facilitate a large-scale production.

Within the project “TopTape”, these issues were addressed to achieve a fully automated manufacturing process with an integrated quality assessment program. The improvements in the process technology included solutions for the automation of the first layer connection, a component labeling system and automatic cutting.

In the second part of the project, new methods for the optimization of process parameter and quality control were developed. Thus far, the determination of process parameters was generally based on the experience of the operator or machine manufacturers. To make this important step operator independent, simple to use test methods were developed to efficiently evaluate the mechanical properties and therefore the process quality. With these methods, combined with an extensive process monitoring, it was possible to assess a large part of the process parameter window to determine optimal manufacturing parameters for the chosen material.

These new assessment methods were validated for a carbon fiber reinforced polycarbonate and an improvement of the mechanical properties of up to 50% was achieved.

Andreas Kenf, M.Sc.
Scientific Employee
Mechanical Charakterization & Modeling
Telephone: +49 (0) 631/2017-327

Process parameter optimization results for a carbon fiber-polycarbonate-composite, aimed to improve the mechanical properties of wound structures using newly developed test and assessment methods

Simple and efficient test methods for integration into the laser-assisted tape winding process as a means of process optimization and quality control

Laser assisted tape winding machine

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