Automated fiber placement (AFP) machinery manufacturer Automated Dynamics (Schenectady, N.Y.) reports that it is testing the use of a laser-based heating method for its AFP equipment. Integrated into Automated Dynamics’ fiber placement technology, it will replace and/or supplement hot gas for heating. Benefits of the laser include improved control over temperature in the bond zone, improved reliability, increased material throughput and improved consolidation quality. The company plans to make the laser available as an option on all of its composites processing equipment. Automated Dynamics purchased the laser from IPG Photonics (Oxford, Mass.). The effort was partially funded with support from New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA).
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Pending successful results from two initial phases, the project will conclude with the production of full size tanks.