Fraunhofer IPT (Aachen, Germany) introduced at Composites Europe 2013, in Stuttgart, Germany, a new automated tape placement (ATP) system that employs lasers for the placement of dry continuous fiber tapes with in-situ consolidation of thermoplastic resin matrix. The system reportedly offers out-of-autoclave processing, good temperature control, layup rates of about 1m/sec (3.3 ft/sec) and energy-efficient diode lasers. An infrared camera is used to control temperature at the head, and tape is offered in widths of 6 mm, 12 mm and 25 mm (0.24, 0.48 and 0.98 inch). Applications include open aerostructures, (wings and fuselage sections); closed structures, such as pylons and pressure vessels; tailored blanks; and composite repair. The system is being commercialized for Fraunhofer by Advanced Fiber Placement Technology BV (AFPT, Sprang-Capelle, The Netherlands).
Editor PickJEC 2017 – Aiming for Industrialization
The exhibit floor in Paris reflected composites’ move toward high-rate and high-volume production.