Unique Non-Orthogonal TCP Intersecting AFP Axes Design
Automated Fiber Placement (AFP) machines typically consist of 3 linear and 3 rotary axes of motion in order to manufacture complex shapes. These axes are generally orthogonal and semi-coupled. In these designs, a linear axis move will not affect the rotary axes orientation whereas a rotary axis move will affect the Tool Center Point (TCP) location with respect to the linear axes position. The wide range of motion required to maintain the compaction-axis normality needed for carbon fiber layup tends to prevent all of the rotational axes from passing through the TCP. The location and arrangement of these rotational axes has a great effect on the AFP machine performance and controllability during high speed layup. This paper presents a unique kinematic AFP axes design consisting of replacing the 3 orthogonal rotary axes with 3 tool-center-point-intersecting coupled-axes which decouple the linear axes from the rotary axes.