Automated Dynamics to develop fiber placement cell for Concordia University

Under a $1 million contract, Automated Dynamics will develop a six-axis robot to fabricate cones, flat laminates, open and closed sections with convex and/or concave shapes, triangles, box beams, cylinders, ovals and more.

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Automated Dynamics (Schenectady, N.Y., USA) announced on Dec. 22 that it is developing an automated fiber placement (AFP) robotic workcell for Concordia University's (Canada) Concordia Center for Composites (CONCOM). The six-axis robot will fabricate simple to complex geometries, including cones, flat laminates, open and closed sections with convex and/or concave shapes, triangles, box beams, cylinders, ovals and more.

"Automated Dynamics' leading-edge processing technology and fiber placement equipment will be the centerpiece of the CONCOM research and development facility," says Dr. S.V. Hoa, director, CONCOM. "We are well respected in this field of research and now this technology and composite processing places Concordia University among the world-class leaders designing and fabricating composite structures for industry, government and defense applications throughout Quebec and across Canada."

The Automated Dynamics robot features an articulated arm platform with interchangeable processing heads: 4-tape (0.25 inch/6.4 mm wide each), individual tape control, processing head for thermoset (epoxy) composite materials and a single-tape (0.250 to 0.50 inch wide) processing head for thermoplastic composite materials. The robot also features a separate spindle to accommodate tools up to 6,000 lb/2,721 kg, with a work envelope of 48 inches/1,219 mm OD by 10 ft/3m long.

Equipment to be delivered with the robotic workcell includes a large, electric tool extractor capable of a pull force of 40,000 lb/1,134 kg for removing mandrels from the fabricated composite structure.

Proprietary inline and offline software programs the robot and processing head using a PC to place the fiber-reinforced, prepreg composite tape on a metal tool in any orientation from 0° to 180°.

"We're excited to be building this versatile machine for Concordia University," says Jim Harty, vice president, sales and marketing, Automated Dynamics. "Our ability to tailor automation of fiber placement and tape laying equipment provide production-ready solutions for our clients, supporting their efforts to research and develop low-cost, high-volume composite structures."

The three primary areas of focus at CONCOM are to carry out fundamental and applied research work on the areas of polymer, metal and ceramic matrix composites; to provide facilities for training researchers; and to provide assistance to companies, institutions and individuals working in composites in Canada and other countries.