Fiberline A/S, a Danish family-owned company founded by Henrik and Dorthe Thorning in 1979 is a world-leading producer of glass- and carbon-fiber profiles. The company employs more than 300 people who share a common fascination with innovative materials and manufacturing processes. With Fiberline A/S’s pultrusion technique, dry fibers are drawn continuously through a closed die in which a matrix is inserted. The resulting product has extraordinary properties that can be tailored to the needs of individual customers.
Fiberline A/S’s products are primarily used in three sectors: wind turbines, windows and facades, and structural profiles. In the wind turbine industry, the carbon- and glass-fiber profiles help strengthen long turbine blades. The fantastic insulating properties of glass fibers improve the energy balance in buildings respectively of windows and facades. As for structural profiles, such as bridges, the strength, low weight, and durability of the Fiberline A/S products create intelligent solutions.
Measurement of composite profiles’ curvatures
Previously, Fiberline A/S used a manual measuring station to inspect the curvature of its composite profiles. This worked well; however, because it was stationary, the team had to cut test pieces from the production line, which lowered output. The goal was to find an easy way to measure the curvature of the profiles while they are in continuous production.
While looking for an in-line measurement solution, Fiberline A/S’s attention was drawn to the portable 3D scanner HandySCAN 3D™ from Creaform. In cooperation with Kvejborg APS, Creaforms’ distributor in Denmark, a technical solution was developed. Rather than conducting the inspections manually by cutting material to do the testing, the HandySCAN 3D scanner and the methodology enable in-line measurements to prevent the creation of scrap material.
The carbon composite profiles are made through a process called pultrusion, in which carbon fibers are mixed with a matrix inside a large tool. The profiles are less than 1 cm high but +100 mm wide (there are several widths). A large pulling unit draws the profile out of the tool and onto a roller conveyor. Then, the thin profiles are coiled in large coils of several hundred meters.
To make sure the profiles are completely straight, a test must be carried out to determine how their curves must be bent, which have to be measured over a length of 8 m. Therefore, Fiberline A/S installed three measurement stations slightly underneath the roller conveyer where the profiles run over. On these stations, positioning targets are applied. The complete setup with the targets is then scanned and saved as a reference file.
|Example of profiles with curves being measured||When operators want to perform a measurement of a profile’s curvature, they simply use the HandySCAN 3D, a computer with the acquisition software VXelements, and a barcode scanner to scan the composite profile. The scanned data and barcode of the part is then entered into a software together with the information about the specific production line, the batch number for the specific coil and the operators’ ID. The system automatically generates a timestamp. The operators then scan the profile at each measuring station. Once completed, the scanned data is imported into Polyworks software. The scan is compared against the reference file. The software automatically calculates if the scanned profiles have a slight curvature over the length of 8 m.|
There are other systems on the market to perform these kinds of in-line measurements, but the inspection would only have been possible with a more complex setup. Now, obtaining the measurements is easy and the same equipment can be used on several production lines rather than having a stationary setup.
Today, Fiberline A/S no longer has to cut test pieces for measurements, which saves money and increases production output. Each individual measurement is now documented automatically, which has decreased manual documentation. And, as the measurements are now obtained in-line and the results are shown immediately, it is possible to react to any inconsistencies much quicker.
Fiberline A/S is happy about the optimal technical solution as well as the cooperation and support provided by Creaform’s HandySCAN 3D scanner is very accurate and easy to use. Any adjustments to the programs or systems that were requested after the initial implementation was successfully met.