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What is the manufacture of thermoplastic composites by stamping?

The manufacture of thermoplastic composites by stamping is a recent process for which X-ray tomography has real added value: to characterize and understand this process, in order to better control it.

Competitive advantage for the company which uses it, the manufacturing process of thermoplastic composite by stamping is as follows:

  • From a thermoplastic composite plate, a first trimming with a machining center (often a water jet machine) is carried out to have a very enlarged shape of the part.
  • Next comes a stage of heating this plate, to give it flexibility. Positioned in the hot state in the center of a press between a male and female mold cavity, this plate then takes the shape of the final part.
  • This part is then repositioned in a machining center in order to be able to trim the part to the right dimensions as well as the holes, oblongs, etc.

In final inspection, this part is usually subjected to a 3D inspection on CMM or arm of measurement as well as a control ultrasound.

What are the advantages of X-ray tomography?

On composite parts, X-ray tomography makes it possible to make two measurements in one: the three-dimensional check on the point cloud and the material health check (previously done in Ultra Son) to detect any air bubbles present between the layers of mixed tissues. with resin.

The stamping manufacturing process requires heating the part and stressing in a mold. These 2 steps and the quality of the surface finish of the mold are sources of numerous defects in the composite part:

  • Highlighting porosities (air bubbles, inclusions …)
  • Priming of delamination zone
  • Surface defect,…

In foundry or in plastic injection, there are rheology simulators and a significant setback (complete chart in the field) to control and anticipate these faults.
As the thermoplastics manufacturing process is relatively recent and not widely used (due to its complexity), there is not yet a chart made available to know and anticipate both material shrinkage and the geometry of the mold to be designed, as well as the process of appearance of faults.

RX tomography takes on its full meaning in these phases of development. On the same plate, the X-rays used to characterize air bubbles, material inclusions and cracks.
The non-destructive testing by tomography (NDT R-X) makes it possible to:

  • Locate faults in 3D (with pictorial views)
  • Define the overall volume of porosities in the room (comparison as the process progresses with the appearance or increase of defects)
  • Provide a list of all the porosities present in the room in order of size.

RX tomography service providers with 3 machines currently in France, we have the capacity to quickly analyze composite parts with high image resolutions.
The smaller your room, the higher the resolution can be!

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