Nuclear Strategy Inc. (Bristol, U.K.) has developed Advanced Drape Software (ADS) for composite structures made using automated fiber placement (AFP) and automated tape laying (ATL). ADS provides a 3-D mathematical modeling solution to the 3-D problem of optimizing AFP and ATL pathways for efficient manufacturing on tool surfaces with complex curvature. According to principal developer Yoldas Askan, even slight fiber path deviations can introduce internal stresses to placed fibers, which then act as crack propagation sites, exactly like impurities in metals. Instead of relying on steering to compensate for such errors in conformity, ADS enables more accurate modeling of carbon strip behavior in order to minimize gaps and overlaps in adjacent fibers and allow the actual engineering of fiber orientations and minimized gaps into the final composite structure. Askan says manufacturers can save money, reduce cycle time and improve structural performance by using ADS compared to current tools such as integrated laser projection and adaptive molds. He details, “A robotic arm would not need to be coupled to an adaptive mold and manufacturers can perform more scoping studies on the mold, enabling the optimum carbon ribbon width and thickness to be calculated for a specific structure and manufacturing time to be minimized.” For more information, go to: http://nuclearstrategy.co.uk/composites-automatic-tape-laying-and-fiber-placement/ .