Fischer Advanced Composites Components AG (FACC, Ried im Innkreis, Austria), a Tier 1 aerospace supplier, announced in early October that it has acquired a trademarked CHARGER automatd tape laying (ATL) system. The machine, a small version, designed and built by MAG IAS (Hebron, Ky.) to lay up flat tapes for primary and secondary structural composite components, includes MAG's trademarked modular ACES (Advanced Composites Environment Suite) software.
The CHARGER has a bed-type configuration and features a simplified but versatile tape head and integral vacuum layup table. The small flat tape layer (SFTL) platform reportedly provides what MAG refers to as a "right-sized solution" to production of long, narrow, flat parts, such as spars, stringers, beams, ply packs, shear ties, frames, flaps and skins.
“This is FACC’s first automated system dedicated for these types of parts, which have to be manufactured in quantity for many aerospace programs,” says Robert Harper, director, technical sales, MAG Composites. “FACC is a new customer for us in composites, and we succeeded against some worthy European competition. Ultimately, we had the right-sized machine and the complete system package from offline programming to process support.”
Scheduled to ship in first-quarter 2013, with installation complete by May, the SFTL is designed and built using proven modules and technologies from larger CHARGER tape layers, which MAG caims are the most widely used tape layers in the aerospace industry. According to Harper, the CHARGER’s new-generation tape head is the most productive and consistent on the market at compacting layers of carbon/epoxy tape. The new head is said to enable faster, simpler side-loading of tape rolls up to 300 mm/12 inches wide and 650 mm/25.6 inches in diameter. Common hardware permits layup of 150-mm/6-inch and 300-mm/12-inch wide tape, with minimal changeover time. The advanced head design also features tape flaw detection, integrated ultrasonic laminate cutter, laser trace inspection and cutter depth-setting assistance for maximum system flexibility and performance.
The PC-based ACES software is compatible with CATIA V4 and V5, CATIA CWB/CD3 (Dassault Systèmes, Vélizy-Villacoublay, France) and VISTAGY FiberSIM (Siemens PLM Software, Plano, Texas), and provides a variety of path generation types. MAG calls the software "the industry's fastest and most powerful programming and simulation system for both tape laying and fiber placement." The software supports part programming, part simulations, productivity analysis and production animations to significantly reduce risk and ensure a part can be produced before shop-floor production begins. “The simulation capability of ACES software was a key factor in this order,” says Harper.
The SFTL is equipped with MAG’s CM100 computer control, which MAG claims is the only control designed specifically for automated composite production. The powerful, easy-to-use control features an open architecture design powered by the latest industrial processor technology and digital servo drives to deliver fast, smooth, accurate machine motion.
The FACC order comes on the heels of the sale of a CHARGER and a VIPER 6000 fiber placement system to McLean, Va.-based ITT Exelis, for an expansion of its production facilities in Salt Lake City, Utah, announced in Novmber of 2011. Since then, the ITT Exelis' composite-structures operations, formerly housed in a 133,000-ft2 (12.350m2) facility in the Salt Lake International Center, near Salt Lake City International Airport, have been expanded into a nearby 300,000-ft2 (27,870m2) facility.
MAG is a leading machine tool and systems company serving the durable goods industry worldwide with complete manufacturing solutions for metal cutting and composites applications. With a strong foundation based upon brands such as Boehringer, Cincinnati, Cross & Trecker, Ex-Cell-O, Fadal, Forest Liné, Giddings & Lewis, Hessapp, Honsberg, Hüller Hille, Lamb, Modul and Witzig & Frank, MAG is recognized as a top provider of tailored production solutions based on state-of-the-art technology. Key industrial markets served include aerospace, automotive and truck, heavy equipment, oil and gas, rail, solar energy, wind turbine production and general machining.
With manufacturing and support operations strategically located worldwide, MAG offers comprehensive lines of equipment and technologies including turning, milling, hobbing, grinding, honing, systems integration, composites processing, cryogenic machining, maintenance, automation and software, tooling and fluids, and core components. For more information about MAG, visit the Web site: www.mag-ias.com