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Journal Article

Production Implementation of Multiple Machine, High Speed Fiber Placement for Large Structures

A two machine Automated Fiber Placement (AFP) cell capable of laying 1/2\mi and 1/4\mi tow at rates up to 1800\mi/min (45.7 m/min), including feeds and cuts, has been implemented for the manufacture of large primary aircraft structures. The control architecture of the cell is such that part programs are machine independent and can run on either machine or simultaneously on both machines at the same time. A Central Cell Controller pushes part programs to each AFP machine and coordinates the cell. Volumetric accuracy of the two machines is under 0.008\mi (0.2 mm) radial error in the entire compensated envelop, which is approximately 64' x 21' x 14' (19.5 m x 6.4 m x 4.3 m) for each machine. This is accomplished through optimization of volumetric kinematic compensation parameters using a linear numerical solver. The machines reference a common coordinate system which allows great flexibility in part programming.