Automated Dynamics (ADC, Schenectady, NY, US), a manufacturer of composite structures and automated fiber placement (AFP) and automated tape laying (ATL) equipment, announced that the United States Patent and Trademark Office has issued US Patent 8,947,847 that covers methods to automate incorporation of lighting strike protection (LSP) layers into composite structures. This groundbreaking development promises to significantly lower production costs throughout several industries where such protection is necessary, including but not limited to: aerospace, oil and gas and wind energy.
“The necessary trend toward lower density LSP solutions has complicated integration of an automated manufacturing solution,” said Ralph Marcario, vice president of sales and marketing for Automated Dynamics. “This technology enables automation of this critical step and provides significant improvements in production time and dramatic decreases in production cost.”
The invention incorporates the metallic lightning strike materials using traditional equipment and techniques for fiber placement and tape laying, produced by Automated Dynamics and others. The metallic mesh is embedded into pre-impregnated tape, offering the mesh support during placement and assuring full consolidation into the composite matrix. It is compatible with both thermoset and thermoplastic resin systems.
Automated Dynamics further stresses that this technology can be readily incorporated into the composite structures that they produce for companies in composites end markets. ADC’s automation equipment can also be easily augmented to enable this capability.