Body panels come with varying geometries and in a range of sizes. The SPRINT™ CBS developed by Gurit is manufactured as separate rolls of surface film, syntactic core, carbon and glass. To get from a several rolls to a coherent complex composite panel, Gurit utilises cutting edge technology.
A three-dimensional drawing of the part to be manufactured is processed through a number of CAD tools to model the two-dimensional plies required to make the part. Validation of the plies is completed by the expert prototyping team prior to production.
In production, the plies are cut to a high level of geometrical accuracy (±0.6mm) using a 5-axis CNC ultrasonic cutting machine. Each time the ply is cut it is the same shape and with the same fibre alignment – vital to the repeatability of the moulding process.
To maximise the utilisation of the high value, high performance materials, the ply geometry and the constraints (such as the required fibre alignment) are loaded into a nesting system. The resulting nest is the basis for the program used by the CNC.
The material is unrolled, cut, and the plies collated. Once each material is cut, the individual surface film, syntactic core, carbon and glass are prepared for kitting up into the CBS plies used in the mould. The CBS layers are assembled in a cool area to optimise handling of the materials. Once fully assembled, the whole kit is checked as complete, loaded into a ply book in the order of use, then stored in a Kanban rack ready for use.