For the Fall 2015 SAMPE Benelux seminar, the SAMPE team joined forces with the Polymer Research Group of KU Leuven`s Technology Campus Diepenbeek and with the aerospace structures supplier SABCA Limburg. Goal was to organize a top learning and networking event for the members.
A welcome coffee at the Technology Campus prepared the 57 participants for the invited lectures program. After an introduction to the Polymer Research Group by Ludo Naelaerts, KU Leuven researcher Bart Van Mieghem showed how our understanding of the thermoforming process can be strongly enhanced by measuring in-situ the sheet deformations, temperatures and forming pressures. Next, as a warm-up for the later visit to SABCA Limburg's facilities, Steven Wathiong and Jelle Goyvaerts explained in a nutshell how SABCA achieved to drastically reduce the inspection time of large stiffened CFRP panels. By setting up a robotized ultrasonic inspection cell, the inspection time of panels for horizontal tail planes of business jets could be reduced to less than a quarter of the original time! Two more technical presentations followed before the networking lunch and two after: Kevin Henin and Charles Langlais of Coexpair showed through the example of a nose landing gear door demonstrator that the closed mould SQRTM process can be an effective solution to manufacture curved parts with integrated stiffeners and load introduction points. Wouter Grouve of TPRC showed via convincing experimental data that the fracture toughness between fibre placed thermoplastic tapes is dependent of many variables, including heating power of the laser, distribution of this power between tape and laminate substrate and relative fibre orientation between laminate substrate and deposited tape. He was able to correlate his observations to the matrix crystallinity and interface morphology.
After the network lunch - during which we also shortly toured the labs of the Polymer Research Group - David Harman of Simpleware showed how image based models can help to accurately model material data such as permeability of a preform or elastic modulus of a composite. And as last speaker, Stephan Voskamp of Eurocarbon showed the latest advancements in overbraiding techniques. In the end we were not surprised to see that overbraids are the reinforcement of choice for e.g. the Mercedes SLR crash cone, the A-pilar and rocker of the Lamborghini Aventador, the doorframe and rocker of the BMW i8 and the new BMW 7 series roof beams.
After the SAMPE Benelux member meeting, everyone was eager to go visit the SABCA Limburg facitilities. In an excellent tour, SABCA showed the manual lay-up of the A350 flap support fairings, the tape laying of the horizontal tail planes for business jets and the new robotized NDT setup. A networking drink in presence of Peter Reynaert, general manager of SABCA Limburg concluded this outstanding SAMPE Benelux event.