The Benefits Of Tension Control In Sandwich-Structured Composites Manufacturing

Improve quality and reduce waste in composites manufacturing with precise, automatic tension control.

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Application Note (PDF)

SteadyWeb 6 Tension Controller

SteadyWeb 6 Tension Controller

Tension Roll® Transducers

Tension Roll® Transducers

90 Series Pneumatic Brake

90 Series Pneumatic Brake

A sandwich-structured composite is assembled by bonding two stiff skins together with a lightweight core of substantial thickness. When combined, these dissimilar materials (or structures) improve overall strength and rigidity of the resulting panel. Typically, as core thickness increases, the strength of the composite also increases due to improved distribution of shear and compression forces exerted on the skin layers.

In sandwich-structured composites manufacturing a variety of processes may be employed including polymer extrusion, honeycomb shaping, adhesive coating and laminating. Precise tension control is important to ensure that the adhesives, skins and cores are successfully combined together with uniformity.

Aluminum Polymer Composite Panel
A sandwich-type composite panel laminating process (top side)

In the case of lamination, tension control can reduce incidences of slack webs or over-stretched material that can lead to air gaps or wrinkles. These defects can directly affect material adhesion and the strength of a panel by reducing its ability to effectively distribute shear and compression forces between core and skin layers.

Maintaining consistent skin tension between opposing sides of the structure is also important. Depending on the types of cores and skins being combined, uneven application of force can result in curling or other structural problems that can reduce quality and increase scrap.

Typical turn-key tension control solutions incorporate:
• A closed-loop tension controller such as the SteadyWeb™ 6
• A load cell such as the Tension Roll® Transducer
• A Pneumatic Brake, Magnetic Particle Brake, Clutch or Motor Drive System

Customers integrating tension control with a PLC most often utilize:
• A load cell signal amplifier such as the TA1 TrueTension™ Amplifier or TA500 EtherNet/IP™ Tension Amplifier
• A load cell such as the Tension Roll® Transducer, a pair of convertible load cells such as the Model C Series Transducers or Under Pillow Block Transducers such as the Model F Series

DFE offers the highest quality tension sensing transducers and controllers to achieve top performance in sandwich-structured composites manufacturing in unwind, rewind and process zones.  Contact an application engineer to discuss your specific requirements today.

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