Interactive Prototyping (Coppet, Switzerland), a new company launched to build interactive software tools for manufacturers, has introduced Interactive Drape software, designed to simulate composites layups for complex parts. It mimics the operator’s hands with the mouse cursor, allowing the user to simulate real-time draping, cutting and trimming operations, as well as flat pattern generation and ply export. To the designer, the software offers the ability to investigate manufacturability during the geometric design and allows communication of the design intent to the manufacturer through layup instruction. For the manufacturer, it enables a virtual trial-and-error approach to layup design, reducing material waste and speeding development time. The program works by importing a surface from a CAD file; the user selects a new ply and places it on the surface using the mouse. The user can rotate it dynamically using the scroll wheel. The software allows simultaneous forming of multiple plies and enables the user to form and lift the ply for trial-and-error forming to determine where wrinkles may develop. When the user completes a satisfactory virtual layup, the layup sequence and orientations of the plies can be captured as instructions.
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The project’s goal is to reduce product development and certification timelines by 30 percent for composite aircraft.