1) What is honeycomb potting for aerospace?
Honeycomb potting, or void filling, describes a process that puts potting compounds into honeycomb structures, for example, to structurally strengthen them. Materials are pressed into the honeycomb cores – often manually – until they are filled completely. As a specialist in the field of dispensing technology, ViscoTec’s solution enables this process to be mapped automatically without requiring any operator intervention.
2) What makes the ViscoTec dosing system the most suitable method for honeycomb potting?
The difficulty is the complexity of the potting materials. Typical materials are 1- or 2-component epoxy resins, which are usually highly viscous, contain hollow microspheres as fillers to reduce density, are in some cases slightly compressible, and usually designed for manual processing.
The heart of ViscoTec dispensing systems is the progressive cavity pump, which enables purely volumetric dosing. The interaction of an eccentrically moving rotor and a stator, adapted to the application conditions, results in a metering characteristic equivalent to an endlessly moving piston. This technology allows us to process highly viscous and shear-sensitive fluids with extreme precision and repeatability without changing material properties. The most critical parts of potting materials are the hollow spheres they contain. Destroying these hollow spheres would increase the material’s density and directly influence an aircraft’s fuel consumption due to the increased component weight. To exclude this risk, ViscoTec tests each material in advance and analyzes the density of the dispensed materials. The results show our technology is perfectly suited for those complex materials.
3) What are the advantages to using ViscoTec’s solution for honeycomb potting?
The material is filled into the honeycomb without operator intervention, so the worker is no longer in direct contact with harmful substances in the potting materials. Variable flow rates can fill honeycomb voids much faster than manual applications, reducing throughput times. In addition, a huge saving potential on the material side can be achieved. On the one hand due to the significantly lower material waste, caused by exact filling via individually adapted filling nozzles. On the other hand, due to the significantly better purchasing conditions.
Since ViscoTec offers emptying systems for almost any container sizes, the customer can order material from the supplier in large containers to benefit from lower purchase prices. Automated honeycomb potting also meets the quality requirements of today’s aviation industry and immensely improves the status quo. By means of purely volumetric dispensing and the corresponding requirements of our control system, it is possible to create an exact record of the volume filled – an important step in traceability and quality assurance.
The automated honeycomb potting solution from ViscoTec allows aerospace manufacturers’ production processes to become state-of-the-art and to meet growth forecasts for the coming years.