In many cases, the shaped pre-formed woven fabric is made in one location, and needs to transported to another location where it is used for the formation of the composite component.
For shaped pre-formed woven fabrics, it is important to retain the pre-formed shape during handling and transportation so that the shaped pre formed woven fabric can be placed in a mould without having to re-shape it with little or no deformation.
The handling and transportation is therefore a challenge.
The object of the present invention provides a system for handling and transporting complex shaped pre-formed fabrics and not exclusively for the formation of a generally conical shape.
By having such a support, the pre-formed shape of the woven fabric layer is maintained during handling, storage and transportation.
The method addresses the stacking of each pre-formed woven fabric layer on a support comprising a shaped portion configured to match the configuration of the at least one pre-formed woven fabric layer, the shaped portion having first and second longitudinally extending edges and first and second transversely extending edges configured to be substantially perpendicular to the first and second longitudinally extending edges; characterized in that the shaped portion is further configured to align longitudinally extending fibres and transversely extending fibres of each pre-formed woven fabric layer in a predetermined orientation.
A support (100) for handling pre-formed woven fabric layers to be used for conical shell composite components or segments is described. The support comprises a shaped portion (120) having a plurality of peaks (170) and a plurality of troughs (180) extending between first and second longitudinal edges (130, 140). Each peak has a varying amplitude along its extent and is configured to maintain warp and weft fibres of the pre-formed woven fabric layers perpendicular to one another. A clamping member may be used to retain a stack of pre-formed woven fabric layers in place on the support. The support may also be used for forming non-woven fibre layers and stacks formed from such non-woven fibre layers, and, for the subsequent handling thereof.