The Filament Winder
Filament winding is a composite material manufacturing process used for making round structures. Similar to a lathe, a filament winder has a spindle that rotates a mandrel and moves a cross slide. A resin impregnated tow (fibre) is wound onto the mandrel while the tows are fed from the cross slider. The cross slider movement is synchronised with the mandrel rotation. In the course of the Exulans project there often has been the need for manufacturing lightweight tubular or semi tubular structures. Especially the manufacturing of tubular main spars requires a professional filament winder of sufficient size and performance for handling up to 4m structures.

The filament winder was designed for prototype development and thus allows the flexibility required for the great variety of applications in a research and development environment. Even though not primarily designed for high volume mass production, it offers sufficient automation options to be used for small production batches

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The filament winder shown in its shortest version 

Features:

  • Three different length assembly configurations (1.5m, 4.5m or 6m rail)
  • Up to 5.5m centre to centre
  • Cross slider rail position is adjustable (up to 90cm swing possible for jigging applications)
  • Mechanical synchronization of slider movement and spindle rotation using sprockets and chains, allowing virtually an infinite number of gear down ratios, allowing a large range of lay-up angles.
  • Good operator control and access for fibre manipulation for intricate shapes.
  • Very sturdy, ground anchored mounting
  • Electro pneumatic sequence control
  • Angular indexing of spindle (for jigging applications)
  • No heavy structures, easy to move, easy to change configuration.
  • Simple construction (mostly standard steel profiles and laser cut plates)
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    The filament winder shown in the 4.5m configuration (without mandrel)

    The filament winder shown
    with a thin mandrel