UK's largest radial braider under construction at the AMRC
The braiding equipment supplied by Herzog GmbH, Oldenburg/Germany, is part of a collection of state-of-the-art equipment purchased by the AMRC with funding from the Aerospace Technology Institute (ATI).
The giant 6 m diameter braiding system paves the way for the development of manufacturing complex architectures and features with dry fiber technology, offering the ability to tailor orientations to suit structural requirements as well as allowing both off axis and axial fibers to be laid simultaneously at the deposition rates required for high volume manufacture.
A wide range of materials can be used with the radial braider including carbon, thermoplastic, glass, aramid and co-mingled tows. The braider is also capable of processing ceramic fiber such as alumina and silicon carbide which would otherwise be difficult to process on a conventional braiding machine.
The machine is also 6-axis with 2 robots. Quite often 1 robot is attached to a braider but the AMRC are putting 2 heavy duty robots either side of the braiding ring. The two 6-axis robots working in tandem means heavy parts and mandrels can be processed and not just foam cores. It is also able to handle more delicate or less stiff cores, due to the additional support.