Forming / Compaction / Debulking
Since most composite materials are produced in a two-dimensional form, it is typically necessary to modify the material using some kind of Forming, Compaction or Debulking process to achieve the final part shape or even a preform for subsequent processing. In many instances a combination of two or more of these processes will be employed.
Presses are often used when stamping thermoplastic panels or high-performance molding compounds such as Hexcel’s HexMC® or TenCate’s Xpress process. At times, the ply/laminate construction is sufficiently stiff that the material does not readily conform to the tool geometry. This can lead to undesirable features such as fiber wrinkling or buckling which will reduce material properties. In those instances it may be necessary to form the laminate incrementally, applying a few plies at a time or even one ply at a time.
Accudyne has developed solutions for addressing this challenge using a wide range of devices such as bladders, wedges, rollers, shoes, and forming bars. These devices apply pressure to the material through the use of vacuum or positive forces applied through the device contacting the material. Elevated temperatures may be employed depending on the part thickness and part geometry.