US 11,654,639 B2
Thermoplastic composite product
David Reijer Manten, Eemnes (NL); Jeffrey Rogier Vroemen, Nunspeet (NL); Dennis Lunenborg, Utrecht (NL); and Peter Floris Evert Boer, Renkum (NL)
Assigned to DUTCH THERMOPLASTIC COMPONENTS B.V., Almere (NL)
Filed by Dutch Thermoplastic Components B.V., Almere (NL)
Filed on Jul. 13, 2020, as Appl. No. 16/926,854.
Claims priority of application No. 2023482 (NL), filed on Jul. 11, 2019.
Prior Publication US 2021/0008813 A1, Jan. 14, 2021
Int. Cl. B29C 65/00 (2006.01); B29C 65/18 (2006.01); B29C 70/30 (2006.01)
CPC B29C 66/12842 (2013.01) [B29C 65/18 (2013.01); B29C 66/12822 (2013.01); B29C 66/723 (2013.01); B29C 66/72141 (2013.01); B29C 70/304 (2021.05); B29C 66/128 (2013.01); B29C 66/12841 (2013.01); B29K 2995/0051 (2013.01)] 13 Claims
OG exemplary drawing
 
1. A method of manufacturing a thermoplastic composite product, comprising:
arranging a first stack of thermoplastic composite plies to have a first ply drop off;
consolidating the first stack of thermoplastic composite plies to form a first thermoplastic composite component having said first ply drop off;
arranging a second stack of thermoplastic composite plies to have a second ply drop off;
consolidating the second stack of thermoplastic composite plies to form a second thermoplastic composite component having said second ply drop off, wherein a shape of the second ply drop off is complementary to a shape of the first ply drop off;
positioning the first and second components such that the first ply drop off and the second ply drop off are aligned; and
fixedly connecting the first and second components by heating of the first and second ply drop offs to a temperature that is higher than a melting temperature of the plies used for making the first and second components;
wherein said arranging a first stack of thermoplastic composite plies comprises
stacking thermoplastic composite plies in a stacking direction for the purpose of forming the first ply drop off, and wherein said arranging a second stack of thermoplastic composite plies comprises stacking thermoplastic composite plies in a stacking direction for the purpose of forming the second ply drop off,
wherein the thermoplastic composite plies in each ply stack are arranged such that plies at a different position along the stacking direction are laterally offset relative to each other; wherein said consolidating the first stack of thermoplastic composite plies comprises
consolidating the ply stack having the first ply drop off and wherein said consolidating the second stack of thermoplastic composite plies comprises consolidating the ply stack having the second ply drop off;
wherein said fixedly connecting the first and second components comprises:
arranging a first heated mold and a second heated mold;
arranging the first and second components in between the first and second heated molds with the first and second ply drop offs being aligned; and
bringing the first and second heated molds towards each other for the purpose of said heating the first and second ply drop offs while simultaneously applying pressure to the first and second ply drop offs; and
wherein the first and second heated molds, when brought together, completely enclose the first and second ply drop offs, and wherein a part of the first component remote from the first ply drop off extends outside of the first and second heated molds, and wherein a part of the second component remote from the second ply drop off extends outside of the first and second mold; and
wherein a temperature of the first heated mold and a temperature of the second heated mold are controlled such that a local temperature of the first and/or second heated mold at a region in which the first and second ply drop offs are aligned is higher than the melting temperature of the thermoplastic composite plies of the first and second components, and such that a local temperature of the first and/or second heated mold at an end of that mold from which the remaining part of the first or second component extends is lower than said melting temperature.