The AFP/ATL Robot Machine allows for fast transition from automated placement of fibers to automated laying of tape and vice versa, by changing the head.
The AFP/ATL Robot Machine allows for fast transition from automated placement of fibers to automated laying of tape and vice versa, by changing the head.

Machining supplier Mikrosam has developed a machine that can integrate an automated fiber placement (AFP) head for thermoset and an automated tape laying (ATL) head for thermoplastic prepreg laying into a single robotic cell for custom development of structural composites. The new machine could revolutionize the production of composite parts for the aviation and space industry and also the the automotive, marine, gas and oil piping industries, the company said.

The AFP/ATL Robot Machine allows for fast transition from automated placement of fibers to automated laying of tape and vice versa, by changing the head.

‘With this new technology we can enable customers’ flexibility to develop premium quality, final composite products of complex shape and save time on setup costs and investments in multiple machines,’ said Dimitar Bogdanovski, Mikrosam’s sales manager. ‘Our solution helps customers achieve process efficiency and higher throughput which means significantly faster turnaround time on new composite parts produced.’

Parts can be produced, whether flat or highly contoured, with automated computer controlled placement of the UD carbon (glass) epoxy slit tape and thermoplastic prepreg tape, small to medium sized. The temperature control of the thermoplastic material is controlled via a compaction surface laser (heating temperature up to 400°C) integrated to the ATL head and an infrared heating method (heating the surface up to 100°C) with control function provided for the thermoset material used by the AFP head.

This story uses material from Microsam, with editorial changes made by Materials Today. The views expressed in this article do not necessarily represent those of Elsevier.