Exploring the Manual Forming of Complex Geometry Composite Panels for Productivity and Quality Gains in Relation to Automated Forming Capabilities
In a variety of industries there is a growing need to manufacture high quality carbon fibre epoxy matrix composite structures at greater production rates and lower costs than has historically been the case. This has developed into a desire for the automation of the manufacture of components, and in particular the lay-up phase, with Automated Tape Laying (ATL) and Fibre Placement (AFP) the most popular choices. When used for large primary structures there are such potential gains to be had that both techniques have seen rapid implementation into manufacturing environments. But significant concerns remain and these have limited their wider adoption into secondary structure manufacturing, where manual forming of woven broadgoods is dominant. As a result the manufacture of secondary structures is generally explored for costs reduction through drape simulation and lower cost materials.