Increased interest in composite materials and their application to aero, auto, energy and other structures puts an increased demand on manufacturing automation. One of the fastest evolving automation systems in composites manufacturing is automated fiber placement (AFP), where prepregged carbon fiber tows are mechanically and automatically placed on a tool to build a complex composite laminate.
AFP is appealing because it brings to manufacturing a repeatability and consistency that is relatively rare in composites fabricating. However, where, when and how to apply AFP can be complex. CGTech (Irvine, Calif., USA), a manufacturer of software systems for the simulation and programming of AFP systems, has established a Knowledge Center on the CompositesWorld website to help guide composites manufacturers through a variety of AFP process considerations.
AFP equipment has become significantly faster and more reliable and, now that AFP technology has been proven for a variety of parts, more companies are considering AFP equipment to replace their existing processes. But before they do, it is important to learn AFP’s capabilities and limitations.
CGTech has develped a 1-hour presentation that discusses the challenges and rewards of using AFP. It describes the interaction between part programming and machine functionality, and how it is affected by part geometry, ply boundary shapes, lay-down path trajectory, material limits, and the physical behavior and mechanics of the fiber placement head and machine.
Visit the CGTech Knowledge Center for a complete list of guidelines and features regarding the company's expertise in AFP.