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7/26/2019 | 1 MINUTE READ

Addcomposites introduces plug & play AFP/ATL for cost-effective composites manufacturing

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New AFP-XS turns any robotic arm into an automated composites manufacturing system.

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Addcomposites is a research project startup from Aalto University, Finland specializing in an accessible automated composite manufacturing system. It has developed a plug-n-play solution called AFP-XS for automated fiber placement (AFP)/automated tape laying (ATL) processes, that mounts onto any existing robotic arm. The compact and lightweight tool is available by subscription for a few thousand euro per month. By developing every subsystem, control and software element in-house, Addcomposites provides the lowest cost to consumers while maintaining aerospace-grade quality.

 

This cost and performance allows manufacturers to simply rent the toolhead for their facility and convert already purchased robotic arms into a high-quality  ATL/AFP system. The AFP-XS system works with dry fiber, thermoset prepreg and low-temperature thermoplastic composite tape, producing lightweight, complex-shaped structures that are optimized for load-carrying and efficiency.

Addcomposites was started as a research project in 2017 with the goal to combine all the necessary steps of AFP — i.e., fiber feed, tape cutting, impregnation and placement — into one single step. Its initial offering, AFP-XS, is the first step in that direction.

Addcomposites is currently based in the European Space Agency Business Incubator Center (ESA-BIC, Espoo, Finland) outside of Helsinki, and is conducting pilot production trials with new space companies to validate the technology for a variety of applications. The company is supported by an ESA-BIC grant and ESA-BIC customers, but will close its seed round funding by early Q4 2019.

Addcomposites has just completed a composite manufacturing automation project with the largest composite manufacturer in Finland and is preparing for the commercial launch of its AFP-XS tool by 4Q 2019.  Further system features will be revealed closer to this launch.

Read more in “Increasing access to AFP.”

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