A family of production-ready advanced fiber placement machines has been introduced by Ingersoll Machine Tools (Rockford, Ill.). The largest machines are capable of laying up one-piece barrel fuselage sections with a diameter up to 8m/26 ft, in lengths as great as 20m/66 ft. In smaller formats, the machines can be used to fiber place materials successfully on difficult-to-manufacture parts that have previously required hand layup, such as those with concave surfaces and narrow radii. The fully automated process is intended for aerospace and related industrial applications, including commercial and military airplanes, helicopters and space vehicles, says the company.
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Pending successful results from two initial phases, the project will conclude with the production of full size tanks.