RAMPF Machine Systems, Germany, has displayed a bonded lightweight carriage manufactured using aluminium foam sandwich at this year’s Motek trade fair in Stuttgart, Germany. The carriage features improved rigidity, significantly better damping, and low weight.
The company manufactured the carriage using aluminium foam sandwich panels that have been cut to size and bonded together. The foam material is made using Powder Metallurgy processes during which aluminium powder is mixed with a gas-generating blowing agent such as titanium hydride. Other additives are used mainly to stabilise the foam.
When heated above the melting point of the metal, the gas released from the blowing agent foams the metal. The foam structure is then permanently solidified through cooling. “Aluminium foams expand to around five times the initial volume, and the foam densities are thus around 0.5 g/cm³,” stated Steven Donner, who developed the carriage and works in the design/development department at RAMPF Machine Systems.
The carriage weighs 32% less than a comparable version made entirely of steel, while also delivering improved rigidity and significantly better damping.
“As a result, this system is suitable for highly dynamic pick and place tasks and for soldering, bonding, measuring, dispensing, print, and laser applications,” stated Dr Utz-Volker Jackisch, Managing Director of RAMPF Machine Systems. “The carriage can even cope with the loads that occur when cutting wood, plastic, and aluminium.