The SMC Duroline is a near unmanned complete production lineincluding milling, drilling and water-jet cutting stations (11) for finishing theformed SMC components. SMC sheets are unwounded at the unwinding station (1)and reduced to desired shapes and sizes at the cutting station (2). The feedingrobot (5) transfers the cut sheets from the conveyor (3) onto a stacking table(4). The stacking table monitors the weight of the stack to control the volumeof SMC material being loaded into the press. The feeding robot then transfersthe SMC stack into the mold cavity (8) of the high precision press (7). Theunloading robot (9) transfers the finished components onto a cooling station(14).
The mold cleaning robot (10) enables automatic press mold cleaning aftera fixed number of cycles.SMC is suitable for manufacturing automotive componentswhich require excellent surface qualities like bumpers, air deflectors,fenders, front panels etc.1.
D-SMC The SMC Directline process provides higher process stabilityand higher material quality by elimination of semi-finished processes. InD-SMC, the semi-finished product is directly manufactured in the productionline before processing. This provides higher flexibility in recipe formulationand helps in reducing storage and transportation costs. Further processing ofthis material is similar to a conventional SMC production line. Figure 5 showsa schematic representation of a Dieffenbacher SMC-Directline.Figure 5 Dieffenbacher SMC DirectlineThe robotic automation functions and material propertiesencountered at different stages of the production process in a SMC-Directlineare comparable to the conventional SMC process.
2. HP-RTMHigh pressure resin transfer molding is a resin injectioncompression molding process which uses a carbon fiber reinforced plastic (CFRP)preform as a semi-finished product. The complete HP-RTM process, includingpreforming, resin injection, curing and post processing, can be integrated intoone production line. The complete production line can be divided into three mainautomated units:· Preform Center· Press and Injection Unit· Figure 6 Example of CFRP 3D preform Machining UnitThe preform center allows production of custom designedpreforms from dry carbon fiber reinforced plastic. A stacking robot is used toposition reduced CFRP sheets on a conveyor belt for draping where they are heatedand accurately positioned on a stamping dye. The stamping process converts 2Dsheets into dimensionally stable 3D preforms.
The preformed sheets are thenshaped using a cutting robot and stacked in a load trolley. Other roboticfunctions in a HP-RTM line include de-stacking preforms, loading preforms andunloading finished components from the mold.