Browse Publications Technical Papers 2006-01-3138
2006-09-12

High Speed Tow Placement System for Complex Surfaces with Cut / Clamp / & Restart Capabilities at 85 m/min (3350 IPM) 2006-01-3138

During the last decade in the aerospace industry, most of the large structures manufactured in Carbon Fiber Reinforced Polymer (CFRP) have been produced either with an Automatic Tape Layer Machine (ATL), in the case of large parts with low complexity shaped surfaces, or with an Automatic Fiber Placement Machine (AFP), mainly used for complex surfaces. However, the productivity rates of the AFP have always been well below those of an ATL system.
In the past few years, MTorres has been working continuously on a new generation of automatic composite manufacturing equipment. This new machine, known as TORRESFIBERLAYUP, is ultimately aimed to the tow placement of CFRP over complex surfaces. However, its productivity is remarkably higher than existing AFP machines and current ATL machines. This new generation of composite manufacturing equipment is a considerable breakthrough that opens new possibilities to the aircraft companies. Its unique capabilities of cut / clamp / & restart any single tow independently, at a speed of 85 meters per minute (3350IPM), enables a substantial improvement in productivity, while eliminating scrap. The avoidance of stopping or even speed reduction of the machine while tow dropping or adding allows the system to handle low dynamics machine axis, such as heavy mandrel rotations, big gantries displacements, etc, with very uniform movements, without the accelerations / decelerations typically associated to machine stop / speed reduction.
This unique characteristic results in a spectacular increase in the overall productivity of this new CFRP structures manufacturing process. Average values in the range of 30-45 Kg/hour can be expected, depending on the piece geometry.
The new AFP system can be built in various machine architectures: either a gantry configuration for wing-type parts, or a column type machine with a rotating mandrel for fuselage family of components.
MTorres Group philosophy is to customize machine designs for specific applications and customer needs. This philosophy will also be used for the new fiber placement system.

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