Mikrosam delivers multi-material AFP system to Brandenburg University of Technology

The 8-axis robotic AFP machine is reportedly capable of automated and precise placement of thermoplastic fibers, thermoset prepregs and dry-fiber material.

Mikrosam (Prilep, Macedonia) recently delivered a new AFP system to The Department of Lightweight Design and Structural Materials (LsW) at Brandenburg University of Technology (BTU, Cottbus, Germany).

The 8-axis robotic AFP machine is reportedly capable of automated and precise placement of thermoplastic fibers, thermoset prepregs and dry-fiber material, providing the LsW team with R&D capabilities to design and test complex 3D parts made of composite materials. 

The system at BTU Cottbus has an AFP head capable of uni- and bi-directional placement on open 3D shapes and closed mandrel surfaces, such as pipes and vessels. The system is said to save time on the process of switching material and technology to another on a single AFP head via a spool change, and replacement of the laser with IR heating source. The automatic head exchange system as an option allows customers to invest in new AFP/ATL heads in the future for use on the same equipment.

Further capabilities are added for thermoplastic composites. Using a laser heating source, precise temperature control, and a closed-loop process, Mikrosam’s AFP machines can process thermoplastic material on flat, curved and cylindrical shapes and achieve in-situ consolidation.

Additionally, the dry-fiber placement capability on the same AFP head opens possibilities for developing and testing new and complex pre-forms for aerospace and automotive needs. 

“The possibility of using multiple materials on the same equipment with very short down time should increase the span of research applications and demonstrate new technologies to industry partners which are developing new, high-quality composite structures, and fuel the demand for more composite parts,” says Dimitar Bogdanoski, Sales Manager at Mikrosam AD.
 
Advanced programing and control software is employed to automate the AFP machine. MikroPlace (Prilep, Macedonia) is employed for the simulation of composite parts and a QCS (Quality Control System) offers continuous improvement via data monitoring and traceability. 

To complement the AFP system, the LsW department also received equipment for wide and narrow prepreg tape slitting and rewinding to prepare spools. The slitting & rewinding machine is designed to work with thermoset and thermoplastic prepregs to produce spools with various sizes and re-winding styles, e.g. from 300 mm wide tape down to ¼" tapes used in AFP.