In today’s advanced aerospace composites industry, many of the intricate parts like stringers and C-beams, formerly made of aluminum and other ridged materials, are being constructed out of multiple layers of carbon fiber pre-preg materials that is shaped or formed over intricate tooling shapes. In this layup process many companies manually form the materials over and around sharp or abrupt edges of the tooling by hand which proves to be a costly endeavor, and in many cases, the end product suffers do to stress wrinkles or waves.
Hot drape formers provide a reliable way to conform carbon fiber pre-preg material in multiple ply layups to advance or intricate tools. The hot drape former applies uniform and controlled heat over the entire part as the drape is lowered over the part and tool where vacuum is then applied. As the carbon fiber is heated and vacuum is applied, it is quickly formed to the tooling without producing the stress wrinkles or waves commonly found in a manual lay-up.
Common uses are: