Kiefel GmbH presented a new vacuum laminating technology called Tailored Blank Laminating at the company's Automotive Dialog Day Nov. 15.
Vacuum laminating is a fully automated process that can cut costs to make automotive parts such as door-uppers, armrests or even entire door panels and instrument panels, according to officials of Kiefel Technologies, based in Freilassing, Germany.
Tailored blank exact foil precuts are used, giving the technology its name: Tailored Blank Laminating (TBL).
By using a specially designed servo-motor gripper system, robots position the precut blank on the substrate without any foil pre-stretch. The TBL tool is closed and the vacuum laminating process happens.
Cutting knives, integrated into the tool, handle exact foil overlap length and the subsequent edge-folding process.
Kiefel developed a completely new, highly automated vacuum laminating machine for this application. Integrated robots are not only responsible for movement tool components an parts. These robots also are used to transfer the laminated parts to the next process, of edge folding or punching.
The overall machine footprint is reduced by 50 percent compared with traditional vacuum laminating machines with the same output, the company said. Product quality also is better, because the foil strength and grain wash-out is significantly reduced.