“TECNALIA has achieved a 60% reduction in cycle time and a 90% reduction in energy consumption thanks to resistance heating”
TECNALIA has achieved a 60% reduction in cycle time and a 90% reduction in energy consumption thanks to resistance heating,
TECNALIA ,Fagor Arrasate and Koniker have collaborated on a project to increase the catalogue of forming facilities offered by Fagor Arrasate to the aeronautical sector. Fagor Arrasate currently offers Hot Drape Forming lines for dry fibre composite materials.
Fagor Arrasate is looking to develop innovative process heating solutions that provide the following advantages over existing solutions:
- Lower carbon footprint of the process by developing heating solutions with much lower energy consumption.
- Lower costs and process cycle times.
- Development of flexible forming lines that allow parts of different sizes to be processed.
Direct resistance heating
In line with these premises, TECNALIA has developed and adapted its patented heating solution, called direct resistance heating, for implementation in Fagor Arrasate's forming lines.
This heating technology is based on the electroconductive properties of carbon fibre, which causes the material to heat up when an electric current is passed through it. A demonstrator of a representative part for aeronautics was defined during the project, using a carbon fabric that is widely used in this sector.
Phases in development
The project was split into different phases depending on their complexity, with initial fine-tuning of the process on the drawing and then development of the 3D forming cell. Finally, Fagor Arrasate scaled up and applied this heating technology to its forming lines, thereby increasing its competitiveness in forming lines of composite materials.
The final results have been very satisfactory for all parties. A highly repeatable process has been developed with significant competitive advantages, reducing cycle times by 60% and energy consumption by 90% compared to existing forming solutions.