Using Programming and Simulation to Develop Optimized Processes for Automated Fiber Placement (AFP) CNC Machines
Many manufacturing companies want to apply AFP technology to complex high-curvature part shapes. As new AFP machine technologies are developed to specifically apply material over complex shapes, new and innovative NC programming approaches are needed to successfully, reliably, and accurately apply material with good consolidation, while meeting the fiber direction and coverage requirements. A big issue with AFP is the production rate vs. part complexity. Most complex shapes can be created with a single .125? wide strip (tow) of material. But the production time would be impractically long. So machine builders create 6, 8, 16, even 32 tow AFP heads, and use the widest tow possible for the highest laydown rates. But then wide compaction rollers on these systems have difficulty consolidating material over curved surfaces, and the minimum steering radius of wider tows challenge the software?s ability to meet the layup requirements.