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February 2010
Automated flatbed tape layer

The new Flat Charge Laminator (FCL) from MAG Industrial Automation Systems is designed for automated, high-production layup of composite spars, beams, stringers and similar parts for wind turbine blades.

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Posted on: 1/13/2010
Source: Composites Technology

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The new Flat Charge Laminator (FCL) from MAG Industrial Automation Systems (Hebron, Ky.) is designed for automated, high-production layup of composite spars, beams, stringers and similar parts for wind turbine blades. The system reportedly reduces labor while improving part quality and repeatability as well as plant productivity. The machine features four servo-controlled dispensing heads on a placement carriage that moves on rails integrated with its vacuum bed. With the four heads dedicated to four different materials, the machine can produce either constant- or variable-thickness laminates on its segmented vacuum table, compacting the layers with a force level that can be selected from a range of 13.6 kg to 136 kg (30 lb to 300 lb). The FCL handles 0°/90° prepreg fabric, ±45° prepreg fabric, unidirectional tape and, as an option, foil or film. The maximum material width is 300 mm/12 inches on rolls up to 635 mm/25 inches in diameter and weighing as much as 150 lb/68 kg. The servo-powered placement carriage is driven by a rack-and-pinion system. A Siemens programmable logic controller (PLC) controls the process, with speed and position feedback from rotary and linear encoders on dispensing heads and placement carriages. The supply reels, also servo-driven, are protected with a magnetic clutch override, and the backing paper take-up system is torque controlled. A stylus cutter cuts prepreg at 90°, without cutting through the backing paper. The minimum course length is 300 mm/12 inches, and multiple short courses can be placed on the same ply. Options include hot-air heating, tape flaw detection, foil/film feeder, edge tracking, CATIA software interface and a semiautomatic load/unload turret for
the heads.

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