By means of the complex weaving technique, we can produce fabrics of differing weaves from yarns, filaments and rovings. The modern Jacquard technology makes it possible to individually control the yarns which are to be processed, thereby enabling the realization of an enormous weave diversity. With the weaving machine, it is also possible to produce multilayer fabrics and three-dimensional structures in one working step. In addition to conventional reinforcing fibers such as carbon and glass, natural fibers can also be combined with one another within the fabrics in one step. These so-called hybrid fabrics specifically unite the advantages of bio-based materials with those of conventional fibers. As regards a subsequent processing to form composite materials, the direct utilization of thermoplastic yarns in the weaving process is furthermore possible. In a subsequent step, these can be directly further processed through a thermoforming process. In addition, functions can be integrated directly into the fabric or the semi-finished product. These can, for example, be conductive yarns or wires, which serve as sensors or conducting paths. Through the simultaneous processing of different materials, diverse working steps can be aggregated and production costs can be substantially reduced.
The weaving machine is located in the Fraunhofer Project Centre Wolfsburg. Within the framework of the “Open Hybrid LabFactory” (OHLF), the entire process chain for lightweight structures in automobiles is developed and tested for large-scale production. The weaving machine is part of the “textile production chain”. It is currently being used, amongst other things, in our research project “ProBio”.