Automated Dynamics adds laser-based heating to tech center AFP machine

The Long Island Forum for Technology (LIFT) in New York is adding laser-based heating to its automated fiber placement machine, used for thermoplastic composites fabrication.

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Automated Dynamics (Schenectady, NY, US) reports that it is has implemented a laser-based heating system (LHS) on its automated fiber placement (AFP) machine at the Long Island Forum for Technology (LIFT, Bethpage, NY, US) to provide advanced composites manufacturing expertise to companies around the world. The AFP system was originally sold to LIFT in 2013.

Automated Dynamics’ LHS offers an alternative to hot gas heating methods that have been used for AFP of thermoplastic composites. Laser heating provides higher energy density and more uniform heating for faster processing rates, higher bond strength and superior surface finish. Improved process control is achieved through closed loop control of the bond zone temperature in real time. This is possible due to the millisecond response time of the LHS compared to the hot gas torch (HGT) response time of minutes. Overall, these changes translate to a 30% savings in production time and a corresponding decrease in manufacturing costs. Enabling companies to explore these methods allows for experimentation and prototyping with relatively low upfront investment, as opposed to purchasing and implementing new systems independently. Testing the feasibility of new parts and processes encourages growth, innovation, and expansion of composites technology.

LIFT, a not-for-profit organization, was founded over 35 years ago and promotes growth in technology-related fields in an effort to improve the economy of Long
Island.