In the aerospace industry the reinforced composite materials are more and more demanded, where the end-of life (EoL) of the final product aspect is very debated point nowadays. The thermoplastic materials play a key role because of their recycle properties. This fact can bring about a challenge to design recycling techniques to extend the EoL of the reinforced composite parts. However, any of this current recycling methods can recover by 80% of the thermoplastic (TP)fibre and ensure the acceptable mechanical properties of the rCF(recycled carbon fibre). The project will provide a solution by developing a recycling method for the key process steps: scrapping by cutting mechanic, automatic deposition and compression moulding manufacturing. The selection of the most suitable recycling process will be based on the previous studies performed by the partners and a comparison with the state of the art of the TP recycling techniques. Then, the scrap material obtained in UD tape format(50x6.0.15mm3)will be deposited automatically with a robot collaborative resulting a preform panel which will be manufactured by compression moulding means. The automation advantage will allow to reduce the labour cost and the manual defects. The estimated cost per kilo of the scraped material will be 0.37€/kg, a very competitive cost for a real alternative to a high cost material(> 30€/kg).
The consortium consists of all key players that will play a future role in the recycling and manufacturing of TP rCF composites. AIMPLAS will play a leading role in the consortium as far as the recycling methods in thermoplastic composites is concerned. This knowledge will be complemented by TEKNIKER with a vast experience in experience in the design and manufacturing of special cutting tools. The project will conclude with the environmental and economical LCA analysis of the innovative process proposed and an eco-design guideline of recommendations for the scalability of the process in an industrial level.
The technical objectives of SPARTA project are the following:
Develop a suitable scrapping process. The investigation of
new methods of scrapping to improve the current
management of thermoplastic structures reinforced with
carbon fibre at the end of the product life, will contribute in
the future air transport to considerably reduce the
environmental impact of all operations related to aviation
systems: virgin material production, composite manufacturing
The use of an appropriate tool for TPC (Thermoplastic Composite) scrapping can ensure the size of the scrap tape curvature of the fibre in order to fit similar mechanical properties to the original fibre.
|Turn worthless scrap material into valuable raw material|
|Reused raw material suitable for compression moulding at an affordable price. TPC scrapping is cheaper than virgin raw material production for TPC manufacturing. A kilogram of recycled carbon fibre is valued at around US$ 15 while the price of virgin carbon fibre is US$ 24-305 making the recycling of the carbon fibre a real necessity. What is more, Airbus TIER 1 has set a target of recycling of tis carbon fibre waste by 2020-25, with 5% recycled back to the aerospace sector. Therefore, recycling initiatives will have a greater role in the upcoming composite market under a responsible use of natural resources.||Increase the demand of reused raw material|
|Recover the waste parts generated during the TPC manufacturing process in order to produce the kg of scrap necessary to introduce it again into the production line.||No need of raw material adquisition|
|Due to the use of the scrapped material, some design concepts such as the fibre/volume content, the size/weight and flake distribution need to be measured and optimised in order to ensure the mechanical properties of the new high quality composite parts.||Re-design of composite part to achieve similar properties to the virgin ones|
|The integration of the improved environmental aspects in the manufacturing processes of aviation, through the reduction of waste material, the reduction of emissions, the reduction of consumption of primary resources and the increase in recycling rates.|
|The complete characterization of the scrapped material will allow to optimize the recycling technique to products suitable for use in the compression moulding process manufacturing.||Optimization of the recycling techinique|
|The use of a colaborative robot will allow to remove the manual deposition operations and make sure that a defect-free preform is transferred to the compression moulding process.||Optimization of the tapes deposition|
|An online temperature control system through sensors of the compression moulding process will allow to optimize the cycle time providing a high quality composite part.||Optimization of the compression moulding cycle|
|Reduction of energy consumption because of the number of steps and time in the scrap obtaining.||Reduction of energy consumption|
TIME TO MARKET
|The use of scrapping material will allow to reduce the time to market of new aviation products due to the fact that: 1) the dependence of the availability (considerable delivery times and storage capacity) and the price fluctuations of virgin raw materials suppliers (a few companies around the word) and 2) the compression moulding process has a fast processing time .||Reduce the production time due to material availability at unchanged price|
|Design a suitable scrapping tool to obtain in an automatic way small 0.15mm thick tapes to enable the correct and automatic positioning of the UD tapes on the mould to achieve comparable properties than the ones obtained using virgin materials.||TP composites parts with similar properties to virgin ones|