AFP Processing of Dry Fiber Materials (DFP) for Improved Rates and Reliability 2020-01-0030
This paper explores the differences found when processing dry-fiber, thermoset, carbon materials (DFP) as compared to processing pre-preg, thermoset materials with Automated Fiber Placement (AFP) equipment. When comparing these two processes, heating systems and tension control must be modified from traditional AFP systems. These new heating systems also require enhanced safety measures. Existing safety systems have been designed to accommodate high performance AFP equipment. As a result, the changes required to accommodate DFP heating systems have become negligible.
Although processing dry fiber requires a higher level of heating, tension control and added safety measures, once these differences are overcome, processing rates and reliability are significantly improved. Specifically, overall payout speeds and steering speeds can be increased for dry fiber resulting in increased laydown rates. The lack of resin within the material greatly reduces resin build-up for longer maintenance intervals. This also results in greater reliability by minimizing or eliminating the associated problems with resin build-up. All of these advantages increase the machine utilization when processing aerospace parts made from dry fiber materials with AFP equipment.