QURE Manufacturing Process

Quickstep’s patented system, Qure, and its high-performance version for aerospace applications, AeroQure, is an advanced composites manufacturing process that offers significant advantages over traditional manufacturing techniques such as autoclave curing, including:

  • low capital cost for set-up
  • significantly shorter cure cycle times
  • reduced energy consumption
  • design flexibility to meet or improve material properties of the end product
  • ability to produce complex integrated parts

Qure concept


Quickstep has developed and industrialised Qure, a composite curing system which uses liquid to cure advanced composite components. Qure is a unique and patented out-of-autoclave processing method. A pressurised circulating heat transfer fluid (HTF) supports the mould and rapidly heats and cools the part. Lower pressure processing (vacuum plus up to 2.5 bar) facilitates lower cost tooling.

Low viscosity processing

Rapid heating of the mould and material reduces the process viscosity, improving air release and fibre wetting. Lower viscosity improves adhesion to honeycomb and foam cores, resulting in higher peel strength and reduced core crush in curing.

Exotherm control

Fluid-based heating and cooling improves heat transfer rates and thermal control, even for thick laminates prone to exothermic reactions. The Qure process delivers significant reductions in cycle time versus traditional autoclave curing.

Low pressure, low void

The low viscosity achieved with the Qure process helps with the removal of air and other volatiles prior to the gelation of the resin. As a result, the technology achieves void levels of less than 1%, meeting or exceeding aerospace quality standards. The resulting mechanical properties are comparable with those obtained via the autoclave process on most prepregs. Resin dominated properties, such as shear and fracture toughness, are equal or superior to autoclave curing.

AeroQure - aerospace performance


Initial test results for internal and surface porosity have shown that at 2.5 bar, using both traditional and accelerated ramp rates, AeroQure is achieving equivalent performance to autoclave at 6.2 bar pressure and better than industry requirements in the aerospace sector (non-statistically valid).

Qure offers significant advantages over traditional autoclave curing:

  • reduced production time
  • greater design flexibility
  • reduced capital investment
  • reduced energy consumption
  • lower tooling costs
  • greater control over cure cycle
  • quality surface finish

AeroQure offers rate solutions for customers, with the ability to meet higher volume needs than autoclave curing. Quickstep offers complete end-to-end manufacturing solutions for the production of advanced composite components and assemblies.

Quickstep is continuing with the further development of Qure 2.5 bar to meet aerospace qualification standards. Qure 2.5 bar, or AeroQure, is currently being tested by an independent aerospace laboratory and a major global material systems company to validate the process at dramatically reduced cycle times to the traditional autoclave process, while delivering multiple processing benefits.

Commercial aerospace applications

Application


Qure is currently being used by Quickstep to manufacturer a lightweight carbon fibre chassis for a portable medical device (x-ray machine) and to manufacture portable wheelchair ramps for the public transport sector. It is suitable for use in a range of defence and commercial aerospace applications, requiring lightweight, advanced composite components at a higher rate of production and lower overall cost than traditional autoclave curing.

The Qure process is highly adaptable and can be utilised on niche to medium volume manufacturing for a range of complex components for customers in the aerospace, defence and other advanced industry sectors.

 

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