Machinery manufacturer Mikrosam (Prilep, Macedonia) featured its new automated tape laying (ATL) system, developed for a civil airplane parts manufacturer. This contour automated tape laying (CATL) equipment consists of a layup head and an assembly of three rotational axes and three linear axes in portal style, suitable for automated laying of carbon fiber tapes for production of composite parts for the aerospace, shipbuilding and wind energy industries.
The ATL head consists of independently controlled, multi-segmented shoe members used to apply the tape, and an additional compaction method used to complete tape application. Both are linked through a dynamic servo control system, which is said to improve tape-laying precision and reduce errors. This reportedly provides for highly controlled shoe and roller movement, fine adjustment of compaction force against the work surface, and different laying paths, yet avoids bubbles, gaps, overlaps and wrinkles.
The head’s innovation is in achieving a very large, free envelope angle of ±40°, which Mikrosam says represents a 60% wider laying range, compared to previously known solutions. Therefore, it gives the manufacturer the opportunity to lay on concave surfaces. As such, this ATL solution increases laying performance, productivity and precision and avoids tape deviations and vibrations during layup.
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Cygnet Texkimp Ltd. (Northwich, Cheshire, UK) has launched what it says is the world’s first robotic, high-speed, 3D winding machine capable of making curved composite parts.