The excellent specific stiffness and strength of carbon fibre reinforced composites make them especially interesting for applications in rotating machines. Unfortunately, these materials have the disadvantage that their manufacturing process is labour‐intensive, and thus slow and expensive. This drawback is overcome by the highly automated thermoplastic fibre placement process, in which impregnated thermoplastic tape is heated and then consolidated in situ under pressure. ABB has implemented the process in the laboratory with a six‐axis robotic system and is using it to develop new components for turbomachinery. The process is also of interest for applications in the aircraft and automotive industries.
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