NIAR selects Coriolis Composites to provide thermoplastics capable AFP system

The new system will contribute to NIAR’s technology development efforts in the area of three-dimensional thermoplastics automation.

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Coriolis Composites (Queven, France) announced Oct. 10 it has been selected by the National Institute for Aviation Research (NIAR) at Wichita State University (Wichita, KS, US) to provide a thermoplastics capable Automated Fiber Placement (AFP) system. Installation of this equipment will contribute to NIAR’s technology development efforts in the area of three-dimensional thermoplastics automation and will allow NIAR to advance the state of the art in thermoplastics through collaborative projects with industry.

With more than 60 machines installed worldwide, Coriolis Composites is in the business of building robots that build airplanes. Most of these robots are used for rate production of FAA and EASA certified commercial airplanes such as the Airbus A320, A350 and A220 (formerly known as Bombardier’s CSeries).

“We are very excited to add NIAR to our customer list as our second US customer,” says Clementine Gallet, president of Coriolis Composites. “Coriolis Composites has been championing the use of industrial robots to lower the cost of airframe production for quite some time, and now we see that this message is resonating more and more with the industry and academia.”

Thermoplastic composites, the next generation of advanced composite materials to be used in the aerospace industry, offer better mechanical properties, are recyclable and more environmentally friendly. Coriolis Composites is a member of the ThermoPlastic Composites Research Center (TPRC, Enschede, the Netherlands) and through its involvement with the TPRC, the company has been accelerating the development of thermoplastic composites technologies for aircraft applications worldwide.

“An advanced composites research center with state-of-the-art thermoplastic technologies is highly valuable to NIAR researchers and our industry and government partners. The Coriolis Composites thermoplastic AFP system at NIAR will help advance multiple aircraft research and development programs,” says John Tomblin, WSU vice president for research and technology transfer and NIAR executive director.

The robots and software provided by Coriolis Composites are analogous to large-scale 3D printing equipment used to manufacture new airplanes out of carbon fiber reinforced plastic materials. The use of thermoplastic composites is growing significantly in the aerospace industry, where customers want products that are lighter, more cost efficient and environmentally progressive.

Coriolis Composites’ AFP technology is based on a deposition head that has the smallest form factor and the lightest weight in the industry. This form factor allows Coriolis Composites’ robots to achieve high accuracies while fabricating intricate, difficult to produce parts. The company has been using high power lasers to automate the fiber placement of thermoplastic material systems such as PEEK, PEKK and PPS since 2009. Over the past 8 years, Coriolis Composites has developed an extensive materials and processing database on how to process thermoplastic materials with lasers.

 


Coriolis Composites and TPRC will also be presenting at Carbon Fiber 2018. Learn more about the event at carbonfiberevent.com.