Composite Manufacturing Lab at GE
Composites Manufacturing Lab (CML) at Global Research. CML is the newest lab to be added to the GE Global Research site in Munich, Germany. The group was started in the summer of 2007 and our 300 square metre (3,200 sq. ft) lab space and was officially inaugurated on November 30, 2007. Today, the group consists of nine engineers from a variety of technical backgrounds including materials, control systems, and mechanical engineering. The group is an international group with six countries represented. The lab facilities include a 6-axis robotic cell for filament winding of complex geometries, a 70 tonne press for developing infusion technologies, and a 5-axis gantry fiber placement machine currently used to develop low cost carbon material applications.
The applications for high performance composite materials are growing rapidly. CML has been investigating the introduction of carbon fiber into wind blades using an automated system, carbon composite risers for offshore drilling (GE Oil and Gas), rapid curing resin systems for small to medium sized aircraft components (GE Aviation), and composite for turbomachinery applications (GE Oil and Gas). Composites offer many benefits over traditional metallic materials including higher strength-to-weight ratios and improved corrosion resistance. The challenge at the CML is to find ways to produce these composite parts cost effectively.
CML collaborates with many other groups on projects. These include other labs at the various GE Global Research sites, external companies (particularly those located in Europe), and universities. CML is very fortunate to be located right on the campus of the Technical University of Munich (TUM). In fact, this past Friday, GE and the TUM signed an important agreement specifically concerning composite materials and manufacturing research. This is very exciting for us because it opens up opportunities for collaboration on an even wider range of topics such as preforming technologies, thermoplastics and new material systems. The future looks bright for composite materials research!
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- June 25, 2010 / 12:25