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Cygnet Texkimp delivers filament winding machine for new era of hydrogen vessel development

UK-based composites technology company Cygnet Texkimp has delivered a four-axis filament winding machine to the UK National Composites Centre in Bristol where it will form part of a new manufacturing and test facility for hydrogen transportation and storage.


The multi-functional filament winding technology has been developed by Cygnet Texkimp to provide the NCC and its partners with the capability to wind all types of filament from towpregs to dry fiber and glass fiber, and all combinations of fibers and resins including high viscosity and fast cure resins.

The filament winder is designed to wind four tows simultaneously. Each tow has its own tension control unit and dancer arm which regulates feeding and winding tension to enable faster and more accurate winding.

A customised software package, developed by Cygnet Texkimp’s in-house team, also allows the NCC to record data including winding tension and speed, resin temperature and air pressure within the mandrel.

The filament winder is served by two four-position creels, which are designed to feed different types of fiber into the process. A towpreg creel unwinds and guides towpreg material into the winder and is an essential part of a novel solution designed to completely isolate the tension required at the bobbin from the tension desired during the winding phase, in order to ensure that the fiber is fed optimally at all times. A second, dry fiber creel feeds fibers into the process at low tension and high accuracy and is enclosed to prevent the release of airborne debris into the environment.

The machine also features two types of in-line spreading and coating capability which can be quickly and easily deployed for dry-wind applications: a temperature-controlled wet-out system with adjustable spreader bars to spread individual fiber tows for consistent resin impregnation, and a coating drum and blade to control the volume of resin applied to the fiber.

Both of these methodologies will be investigated by the NCC for their suitability in winding applications across a range of applications.


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