NetComposites
Thermwood

New Robotic Layup System for Composites

26 January 2003

Composite Systems, Inc. has released a new product to perform the layup of composite tapes and woven materials, whether dry or prepreg in format, by means of the use of robotics.

This is made possible by a patented device called the PFE (Precision Feed Endeffector) device that can carry commercial rolls of material up to 60” (1524 mm) in width, ‘peel’ or remove the protective films (prepreg), ‘profile’ or cut the fabric edges as it is being fed, and discharges waste material automatically. The placement ‘suspension system’ allows the device to lay up material over concave, convex or spline surfaces at speeds in excess of 1000” (25 m) per minute (material dependant).

In concert with the PFE device is a new technology that will allow for the ‘curing’ of translucent materials at the same rate of speed at which the PFE feeds and places them. The suspension system ‘debulks’ the layer as it is being dispensed, thereby eliminating bagging operations under many layup regimes.

The system is manipulated by means of commercial robots, and Composite Systems, Inc. manufactures a line of gantry systems and tracks that provide for large work envelops to be realized.