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Process Settings

Last time, we introduced four types of parameters necessary for most automated CFRP manufacturing processes. Feeds, distances, pressures, and temperatures are essential parts of every layup operation. See here which types exist, and which function they fulfill. In this article, we will highlight the most important parameters of the types of feeds and distances . The last article already hinted at some parameters and how they can be used to control different scenarios when manufacturing. If you are new to this series, we recommend starting with the article about end-effectors – the layup tools used to place CFRP material. From [...]

Layup Paths

The movement patterns of the machine or robot system can be modified by the user. Various parameters control how and where the layup head is supposed to move during the manufacturing process. In figure 1, the feeds (velocity of the layup head) and distances can be seen. A yellow circle denotes a trigger point, that switches to another feed, pressure, or temperature. There are different types of parameters: Feeds: The velocity of the layup head. Distances: The (horizontal or vertical) distance between trigger points. Pressures Certain components of the layup head, like the feeding unit, require a nominal pressure that [...]

Positioning a CFRP Part

An often-occurring challenge when manufacturing is the correct referencing of the relative offset between the machine and the layup table and the components. And there are multiple ways of telling the control system which coordinates it must move the layup-head to: Axis Values The CAM software exports explicit axis angles and distances for the position and orientation of the system (for instance an angle for each joint of the robot system). This is generally an option that is not to be recommended, as any alteration to the real system (physical deformation, changes to the control system) will create a difference [...]

Layup Analyses

In general: when manufacturing any component, the amount of materials required, its cost, and the duration of the process are the three main components for the economic assessment and efficiency of the manufacturing process. The CAESA® Composites TapeStation will present the programmer with all this information during the programming of the part, so they can be optimized and communicated to the manufacturer beforehand. The material usage analysis displays various information about the material used for the part. It shows the size of the area that is to be filled with material and how much area is actually covered. From this, [...]

Balancing material loads

As stated in the last article, the digital laminate definition that consists of the spatial information of the prepreg tows and the process information of the feeds, pressures, etc. needs to be aggregated and transferred to the layup machine. There is one more parameter set that can be modified to change the way, the laminate is laid upon the tooling. As mentioned in the article about end-effectors , tows are grouped into courses which can then be laid 1 after another. The grouping of these courses can be changed to avoid collisions with the tooling and to balance the material [...]

Individual Adaptation

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: Time: Reduction in manufacturing time Cost: Optimization of material usage and machine time Quality: Minimization of the chance that defects occur 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 [...]

Minimum Gap Length

When a CFRP part is integrated into an existing assembly, the CAD definition of the laminate may contain holes for screws or other fasteners. The laminate, however, should not contain any holes as these would lessen the structural strength of the part. Inserting fasteners later will almost always be a better choice than leaving holes in the laminate, as such holes are then not covered by fibers in the process at all. In such cases, CAM software is necessary to provide the programmer with the possibility of controlling how large a gap must be to be left out when placing [...]

Achieving minimum tow length

In this series of blog posts, we present the manufacturing process of CFRP components. We split the many, closely linked subjects into separate posts that can be easily understood. If you are new to this series, we recommend starting here: AFP Endeffectors . In this blog post about end effectors, we give you an overview of the structure of AFP layup heads, how they are constructed, and which functions they need to fulfill. One very important factor of AFP layup heads is that the tows are limited in length by the minimum tow length , and, of course, by the [...]

Boundary Coverage Types

If you look at the previous article about staggering plies , you will notice that tows often start and end outside the given boundary. Although this may be considered a waste of material, it is neither good nor bad - it depends on how the laminate will be processed and what kind of boundary was used. Oftentimes, there are multiple boundaries – an Engineering Edge Of Part ( EEOP ) and a Manufacturing Edge Of Part ( MEOP ). The EEOP denotes the dimensions of the finished part, while the MEOP denotes the boundary to be used for manufacturing the [...]