An automatic cutting machine for composite parts

An automatic cutting machine for composite parts has been developed by the French company Axiome, specialist in machining machines. Able to realize both drilling, water jet cutting and milling at the same time, the robot integrates functions usually performed by three different machines. Measuring 12 metres by 8 metres, the complete machine will be integrated in 2013 into the manufacturing workshop of an automotive equipment manufacturer, on behalf of "a major automotive manufacturer whose new electric vehicles will be largely composed of composites," says Axiome. The OEM will also collect the cutting waste via the machine for subsequent reuse of the carbon fibres.

Already having various machining robots for composite materials, Axiome has reviewed its processes in order to design a machine able to handling several hundred parts per day. "The new machine has four robots and combines several cutting processes: drilling, waterjet cutting and milling," explained Hervé Reigner, sales manager at Axiome, in an exclusive interview with Industrie & Technologies. "Machining is done in carried parts: a robot takes the part and brings it to the various cutting stations, as an operator would do.” The machine has been adapted for working with composites specific to the automotive sector, which are often thinner than those used in aeronautics. "We had to be careful with delamination by using the right cutting processes and milling tools," continues Hervé Reigner.
Axiome is currently in discussion with French automotive equipment manufacturers to propose the same type of development. In addition to the automotive industry, the robot can be adapted to other sectors that machine composite parts: aeronautics, high-end leisure or the manufacture of orthopedic prostheses.

Industrie & Technologies, 04/12/12