As an independent, national centre for the world-class design and manufacture of composites, our latest client’s testing production capabilities were already meeting multi-sector demands. With the growth of dry fabric infusion in the aerospace industry, they now needed an innovative solution to increase composite testing, offer significant savings, and set new industry benchmarks.
In the industry, there has been a move away from traditional prepreg and autoclaves, to dry fabric infusion. An essential step in infusing dry fabrics is ‘pre-forming’ – a process using heat to activate a binder in the dry fabric to produce a semi-structural ‘pre-form’. This method has seen increasing growth in aerospace structures, specifically in the manufacture of stringers, the structural supports within an aircraft wing that prevents buckling and bending under compression.
As an industry leader in the design and manufacture of infrared heating systems, Ceramicx have developed an extensive knowledge of the aerospace industry, with the necessary experience of heating composite products, including the curing of thermoset resins. We custom-built the IR oven with its own 12-zone heat control system–optimising the oven for efficiency and appropriate processing parameters.
Fast-response, quartz halogen heaters were chosen for their emitter type due to the extensive data generated with them for heating carbon composite materials. Their geometric and relative arrangement was based on extensive R&D of heating composites to give the best performance. By easily selecting and deselecting relevant zones, the oven provides adjustability for different stringer shapes and lengths.