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WELDING AND CASTING

WELDING AND CASTING - Filament Winding vs Fiber Placement...

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Filament Winding vs. Fiber Placement Manufacturing Technologies Dr. Scott W. Beckwith, SAMPE International Technical Director and President, BTG Composites Inc., Taylorsville, UT The question frequently comes up as to what the primary differences are between “filament winding” and “fiber placement”. Its not a question that is asked often amongst aerospace manufacturers, but it is asked frequently by students and those entering the composites manufacturing world for the first time. Or from an industry that is more commercial where fiber placement technology has yet to make a large entry. Filament winding has been around for well over 50 years. It is frequently used in aerospace, industrial, commercial and sports and recreational areas. Pressure vessels, tubes, pipe, tanks, ski poles, golf shafts, launch tubes, booms, masts, drive shafts and numerous other structures are made using this process. Fiber placement, on the other hand, is a relatively new kid on the block. Tape laying and tape placement technology grew rapidly in the 1970’s and 1980’s as a better means of laying up prepreg materials in widths that were both precise and faster. Somewhere along the way folks figured out that perhaps tape laying machines and filament winding machine technologies could be married to achieve the best of both worlds. The 1980’s through present time saw considerable growth in the use of fiber placement technology. While still used primarily for aerospace and high performance applications, fiber placement technology is growing. The number of fiber placement machines have grown from a few half dozen in the 1980’s to numbers in the 40-50 range today. Some are very small while others are large enough to make commercial aircraft structures and wind energy blades that have significant dimensions on the order of 40-60 meters (~120- 180 feet). As a result of this question and its frequency, Table 1 was created to focus on some of the key
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