Kanfit receives new AFP robot
Kanfit Ltd. (Migdal HaEmek, Israel), a manufacturer of assemblies and subassemblies for the aerospace industry, announced Feb. 6 it has accepted delivery of an Automated Fiber Placement (AFP) robotic system from Ingersoll Machine Tools (Rockford, Ill., U.S.). The system will be used to develop and manufacture complex composite structures made from carbon fibers that have traditionally been made using hand layup or, due to their extreme complexity, were not possible to manufacture at all.
The new AFP robotic system is the first of its kind in Israel and is being introduced into the company for research and development purposes. Initially, Kanfit will partner in the venture with Israel’s aerospace and defense industry leaders, and eventually plans to expand the project to include partners from other industrial sectors outside of aerospace. The company says it aims establish an Israel Center of Excellence for AFP.
“Kanfit has always been an early pioneer in adopting and mastering new technologies,” says Shai Fine, general manager of Kanfit. “The AFP robotic system is essential to the company’s strategy to expand its design-to-build capabilities, and is a further step in strengthening our position as a leading company for engineering and manufacturing composite parts for the aerospace industry. We are certain that the AFP system will increase our company’s standing in the local as well as in the international arena.”
The AFP machine is comprised of a robotic arm for rapid placement of up to eight tows of one- quarter inch composite fibers. The goal is to design and manufacture lightweight complex structures in a much shorter amount of time, with reduced material waste.
Following installation, the AFP system will undergo factory acceptance testing (FAT). Kanfit engineers returned from intensive training at Ingersoll’s headquarters in Rockford, Ill., U.S., where the AFP robot underwent Pre-Acceptance Testing (PAT).
Compared to legacy materials like steel, aluminum, iron and titanium, composites are still coming of age, and only just now are being better understood by design and manufacturing engineers. However, composites’ physical properties — combined with unbeatable light weight — make them undeniably attractive.
Oven-cured, vacuum-bagged prepregs show promise in production primary structures.
The matrix binds the fiber reinforcement, gives the composite component its shape and determines its surface quality. A composite matrix may be a polymer, ceramic, metal or carbon. Here’s a guide to selection.