The previous articles highlight the different parameters that can be used to optimize a CFRP laminate. These laminates can be optimized according to several criteria:
Using the Time/Cost/Quality triple constraint analogy helps us understand that only two of these three criteria can be met at the same time and that there always is a trade-off when selecting them. If a laminate needs to be manufactured quickly and at low cost, its quality is likely to suffer, and defects may occur more frequently. Trying to find the optimal balance is rarely the best outcome since these three criteria are rarely of the same importance. Understanding these trade-offs early helps to communicate that CFRP laminates are dependent on a variety of parameters and processes.
Staggering, minimum tow length, boundary coverage, minimum gap length – each parameter contributes to this triple constraint of time/cost/quality. All parameters of the manufacturing process do: the selection of boundaries, process parameters such as feeds and heating parameters all influence the balance between the manufacturing of the highest quality parts at the lowest possible cost and in the shortest time.
The CAM programmer’s job is to find the right balance between these three constraints and the corresponding parameter set to implement them. Most parameters are defined for the whole part or the whole ply. As further optimization of the programming is done, these may be overridden in courses or even for single tows. An individualized, optimal laminate is then ready to be manufactured.
Next, we will look at how we can change the manufacturing process of the laminate using the end-effector chosen. Since an end-effector can lay multiple tows in parallel, we can also modify which of these “material slots” are to be used.
Until then, stay safe and stay tuned.