30 years of quality and precision at ES-Schmid
Our story began in May 1983 when Claudius Dornier Jr., the former head of the Dornier factories and ES-founder Rainer Schmid negotiated a consultancy contract. Initially Claudius Dornier assigned Rainer Schmid the complete development of the aeroplane electrical system and avionics for the amphibian aircraft called “Dornier-Seastar”. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dornier_Seastar
This fruitful working relationship and the mutual trust led to Rainer Schmid exploring possible solutions for an automation of the intended serial production. As a result, the development of a numerically controlled dosing and mixing system for 2K-aviation resins (according to aviation standard FAR23) came about which served as the basis for automation and quality assurance.
Thus far, it was only a small first step into the future of fibre reinforced composite processing because eventually the construction of this big composite-aeroplane reached the end of what was feasible. Due to the size of the components, the time for laminating got longer and longer which had a negative impact on the final and quality-decisive suctioning process. Laminating was also very difficult to do and depended on the daily condition of the workers performing the job.
It was crucial to find a new viable solution for the serial production.
Once again, Rainer Schmid rose to the even greater challenge and designed and developed the first numerically controlled and patented CNC fabric impregnation machine COMATIC® over the course of 2 years. Even bigger components of fibre reinforced composites could be manufactured with unprecedented precision and speed.
Using the first COMATIC® in 1988, GROB Aircraft – one of the world’s leading manufacturers of aeroplanes made of fibre reinforced composites – automated its production and set a new milestone with the considerable wingspan of 33 metres of the “G520T Egrett”.
In 1991, the individual company was transformed into ES-Schmid GmbH and developed the 2nd generation COMATIC® in collaboration with universities and industry partners: The CNC-controlled ES-Laminatic® with a significant higher performance and more features.
By introducing the ES-Laminatic® no component was too big anymore. During the thriving industry sector of wind energy, rotor diameters got bigger and bigger and in 1993 ES-Laminatic® was introduced at “ENERCON” - the largest manufacturer for wind turbines in Europe. The production capacity of GFK-rotor blades increased within a very short amount of time while successfully improving the quality, saving material and reducing weight up to 25%.
From 1994 onwards, the world-famous aeroplanes for acrobatic flight were manufactured by EXTRA (FAR23) with the help of ES-Laminatic® machines. Until today they are said to be indestructible (at least when airborne).
Beginning with the transformation of energy systems, lightweight construction has become more and more important. Especially in commercial wide-body aircrafts composite materials are incorporated to save fuel and increase transport capacity.
The growing sizes and number of components increase the demand for quality and short cycle times as well as durability. By now several resin manufacturers have responded to the new demands of the industry and they have developed new and faster resin systems that harden in less than 15 minutes. Resin systems that are self-extinguishing and don’t contain halogens as used in commercial aviation industry according to FAR25/26 as well as the railroad industry are now available.
However, those systems have to be dosed and mixed very precisely (<0,6 pbw).
ES-Schmid GmbH anticipated this and developed special high-precision and extremely reliable matrix flow sensors (<± 0,1 pbw accuracy) for exactly this purpose. When dosing 2K-systems ES-Laminatic® ICL1300 dispenses <± 0,2 pbw, i.e. far below the permissible deviation meaning it’s already a big step further than the current state of the art.
In contrast to the vacuum infusion process the technology of ES-Laminatic® has key advantages when manufacturing high-grade sandwich panels with a honeycomb core, as for example in FAR25/26 resin systems. By impregnating the cores vertically, they won’t fill up and the negative “filter effect” with resin systems using fire-resistant additives is no longer there.
ES-Laminatic® ICL1300 is suitable for manufacturing aeronautic components "out-of-autoclave" (OOA). Further automation is possible.
Rainer Schmid - CEO
Federal Aviation Regulations (FAR)
FAR Part 23 - details the airworthiness standards for airplanes with a maximum take-off weight of less than 12,500 lbs., such as the Cessna 172 and Cirrus SR20.
FAR Part 25 - details the airworthiness standards for airplanes with a maximum take-off weight of 12,500 lbs. or more, such as the Boeing 737 or Airbus A320.
FAR Part 26 - Details continued airworthiness standards and safety improvements for large transport category airplanes, such as the Boeing 737 and Airbus A320.