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FALCON takes classic manufacturing to the next level

Clean Sky 2’s TAMI1.jpg Fundación AITIIP has manufactured a large-size press-forming tooling and a resin transfer moulding (RTM) curing tooling for aeronautics parts within the framework of the CLEANSKY2 project ‘FALCON’. The press-forming tooling is composed of a press able to reach press forces of 150 tonnes and a tooling with 6 mobile mandrels which are able to bend and iron the fabric during the conforming process. The RTM curing tooling is used for curing the preformed part resulted from the (previous) press forming process. It is essentially composed of two moulds (upper and lower) plus a number of mandrels. The heat is conducted by the materials but generated from the press. Several additional technical innovations have been developed to improve the manufacturing process.

The focus of FALCON is not exclusively centred on press-forming and curing techniques, but in the way these other innovations – software, control, monitoring, modularity, ALM technologies – can be added to the former and take classic manufacturing to the next level. This project has enabled AITIIP to understand and develop a unique servo-forming concept for flexible press-forming machines able to fold large format U-T- and Z-shaped hi-tape sheets.

In FALCON, the production processes are monitored and controlled in real time using a closed loop, avoiding errors in the dimensional and thermal aspects of the production. Together with the one-shot approach, everything adds up to important energy and material savings.

The servo-forming concept in the FALCON press-forming machine acquires control data to actually correct the actuation of the press. In terms of robustness and repeatability FALCON shows clear advantages to other non-automated systems. Additionally, FALCON modularity and versatility permits an easy and cost-effective adaptation to materials with new functionalities. FALCON will still be a reliable solution in the future. Tooling cost reduction, flexibility and modularity of the solution will pave the way to improve production ratios, with innovative out of autoclave technologies that reduces energy and materials consumption, as waste is minimized in aeronautic sector production process.

The topic manager for this initiative is AERNNOVA and the total budget was €496.250. FALCON ran from June 2017 and closed in November 2019.