Addcomposites and Effman partner to provide AFP cells for SMEs
Aim is affordable, enclosed composites manufacturing cells for many different processes (AFP, grinding, buffing, sanding, drilling) in North American market.
Addcomposites (Espoo, Finland), supplier of the plug-and-produce AFP-XS lightweight automated fiber placement (AFP) unit, has partnered with Effman (Sherbrooke, Quebec, Canada), an engineering firm specializing in the development of automation for composites manufacturing. This collaboration aims to integrate the AFP-XS into a fully robotic standard cell for small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) at an affordable price.
“Through a year-long project, this partnership will create a fully enclosed, plug-and-produce composites manufacturing cell for many different processes (AFP, grinding, buffing, sanding, drilling, etc.),” explains James Kuligoski, business development engineer for Addcomposites. “Effman’s robotics team and their experience in cell design and robotic automation will be combined with our experience developing compact and modular fiber placement end-effectors. We will supply a smaller, lighter AFP system for their cells, and they will provide the complete, standard cells to SMEs across North America at a competitive price.”
“These cells will be produced in standard sizes, boxed and shipped already assembled,” explains Yoann Bonnefon, president of Effman. “All the customer has to do is unbox it, plug it in, complete minor startup procedures and begin manufacturing composite components.”
“Many companies still form composite products using labor-intensive processes,” Bonnefon continues. “It has mainly been large companies in aerospace and automotive who have developed automation, but very little development of affordable technologies for SMEs operating in markets with more moderate quality and speed requirements. This is the market the Effman and Addcomposites collaboration aims to address.”
As part of its work, Effman can count on collaboration from the National Research Council of Canada (CNRC). In addition, a dry fiber tape development project is underway in collaboration with Groupe CTT (Saint-Hyacinthe, Quebec, Canada) and Addcomposites. Test unit implementation is slated for fall in North America.
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