Automated Dynamics (Schenectady, N.Y., USA) announced on June 6 the sale of its state-of-the-art automated fiber placement (AFP) system to the Long Island Forum for Technology (LIFT, Bethpage, N.Y.). The Advanced Material and Manufacturing Technology Innovation Center (AMMTIC) is a division of LIFT and is where the new AFP equipment will be located. This research center will comprise 25,000 ft2/2,323m2 and is currently being renovated for occupancy in the fall of 2013.
The AFP system includes a standalone, articulated arm robot with extended reach capability from Kawasaki Robotics; integrated spindle system with 48-inch/1,219-mm OD by 120-inch/3,048-mm long work envelope; a 48-inch by 96-inch (1,219-mm by 2,438-mm) vacuum table; Automated Dynamics electronics control cabinet with operator station interface; tooling for cylindrical and flat laminate structures; proprietary FPM and FPS fully-integrated software for machine control and fiber path generation; and three versatile processing heads with integrated creel systems: a 4 by 0.25-inch/6.35-mm wide tape thermoset AFP processing head with Independent Tape Control (ITC); a 1 by 0.25- to 0.5-inch wide tape thermoplastic AFP processing head and a 1 x 3-inch /75-mm wide thermoset ATL (automated tape layer) processing head. All Automated Dynamics AFP and ATL processing heads, for both thermoset and thermoplastic composite materials, are interchangeable and designed specifically for the robot platform.
Automated Dynamics develops and manufactures a series of robot platforms and systems sized to serve small laboratories, larger research centers and complete composite parts production environments. The thermoset and thermoplastic material capable robotic workcells can be stationary (standalone) or movement-enabled using a twin-rail, integrated track system. Automated Dynamics has sold nearly 100 AFP machines and systems in the past twenty years to customers in 17 countries.
The new AMMTIC center will be a resource for all NYS companies that are interested in entering the composites market. It will provide access to process technology, equipment and expertise to design and qualify aerospace and industrial structures using advanced composite materials. Companies that currently produce products using metals will have the ability to design with carbon fiber and fiberglass composites that use both thermoset (epoxy) and thermoplastic resin matrices.
“The use of composites will continue to grow as the demand for lighter weight and more fuel-efficient aircraft, automobiles and other forms of transport increases,” said Phil Coniglio, AMMTIC Project Director.