Heraeus Noblelight demonstrates revolutionary AFP heating Technology at the NCC- 04/02/2016

On 4th February 2016, Heraeus Noblelight held a very successful demonstrator event at the NCC to showcase their breakthrough Humm3 heating technology for Automated Fibre Placement (AFP). The group of over 40 invited guests were given a close-up view of the technology in action, with a practical demonstration including high speed dry fibre lay-up as well as a presentation of the main highlights of the flashlamp's journey from initial concept to full demonstrator system. 


The rapid and controllable heating provided by the Humm3 technology provides a viable alternative to laser and IR heat sources for AFP lay-up of thermoset, dry fibre and thermoplastic materials. The pulsed technology, based around a Xenon flashlamp, heats much more quickly than an IR lamp and has no residual heat, allowing equally rapid cooling. Temperatures appropriate for thermoplastic lay-up are achievable, and the flashlamp head is significantly smaller than a diode laser system, allowing tighter concave radii to be realised. Furthermore, the technology does not have the health and safety consequences of a laser, meaning the operator can remain with the system during lay-up, rather than retreating to a separate booth. 

Heraeus has worked in partnership with the NCC for the last 4 years, initially through the NCC core programme and then via a NATEP-funded collaborative R&D project. During this time, the flashlamp technology has progressed from an initial concept in the Heraeus research labs in Cambridge to a full technology demonstrator for AFP lay-up in the NCC's dedicated AFP cell.

Attendees at the demo represented a range of companies and organisations, including Rolls-Royce, Hexcel, GKN, and Coriolis Composites, UKTI, NATEP and the NCC. Many of these companies have helped to guide the development of the technology and the event was in part a recognition of these valuable contributions, as well as a chance to mark the end of the NATEP-funded project.


The demonstrator event gave an opportunity to discuss and cultivate future plans for the technology, and Heraeus are actively following a number of exciting new research and development avenues for the Humm3 system, both for AFP and alternative applications that require fast, controllable heating.

Heraeus will be holding additional demonstration days at the NCC throughout the year. For further information and requests to book a place, please contact Jeremy Woffendin, Technology Director at Heraeus Noblelight (Jeremy.woffendin@heraeus.com).

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