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Institut de Soudure among winners of 2020 JEC awards

May '20
Pic: Institut de Soudure Group
Pic: Institut de Soudure Group
Institut de Soudure Group and Arkema, together with Hexcel, Latecoere and Stelia Aerospace (France) have been selected the winner of the 2020 JEC Composites Innovation Award for Aeronautics for their Innovative Solutions of Welding (ISW) of thermoplastic composites parts. Key Benefits of the technology include high performance welding weight reduction.

Institut de Soudure Group and Arkema respectively have provided expertise in welding technology and high-performance polymers. The use of thermoplastic composites in aeronautics is a big challenge and requires a welding technology which gives good mechanical performance with cost effectiveness.

The innovation consists in the design and the set-up of a very high performance process that allows welding of any thermoplastic matrix reinforced with fibre. The ISW is mainly dedicated to high quality joining of high performance thermoplastic (PEKK) reinforced with carbon fibre but can be applied to any other matrix (from PA to PAEK) and fibre (glass, aramid).

ISW allows welding join coefficients of about 85 per cent compared to raw material, without any foreign object at the welding line after operation. ISW solution is based on the use of a susceptor that is linked to and moves with the induction coil in the welding head as well as an interface ply of unreinforced or low-fibre-volume pure thermoplastic matrix, which can be tailored per application. The welding head generates cooling under pressure of the substrates to ensure compaction of the welding line.

“We sense temperature with a laser pyrometer which actually measures the edge of the susceptor from the side. So, we know exactly the temperature at the interface. We also have a cooling device blowing air on the welding surface in pressure to be sure we are below the crystallisation temperature, so there is no risk of de-compaction once pressure is released,” explains Jérôme Raynal, aeronautics and composite director.

This innovative head with mobile susceptor is very compact to allow precise and complex access. ISW is designed to be fully automated with the welding head attached to a 6-axis robotic arm.

Key Benefits of the technology include high performance welding, reduction of post operation (no adhesives or tapes and chemical products), and reduction of weight. IT also brings ecological benefit through use of recyclable material and low energy consumption due to a very localised heating.

Institut de Soudure Group and the thermoplastic materials supplier Arkema have developed this new technology to improve weak points of the conventional induction. From the beginning of 2019, some feasibility studies have been initiated with main aeronautic players such as Stelia Aerospace and Latecoere in order to evaluate the solution developed. From 2020, the main objectives are to increase maturity of the technology and to get involved in specific aeronautics projects in order to lead it to qualification.

Fibre2Fashion News Desk (SV)

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