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Naba Tailored Composite Solutions is to study the application of ply simulation software to automate the traditionally manual process of laminating of composite components.
Richard McAinsh Technical Head of Naba TCS stated, “Considerable effort is going on to speed the manufacture of composite components, especially in the automotive industry. However much of this effort is addressed at the transformation stage, where the composite laminate fibre architecture and resin system are cured. Regardless of how this process is performed; using pre-pregs or dry fibres and some type of resin infusion, it ignores the fact that individual layers of fabric have to be sequentially prepared and placed in a mould first. This is traditionally a very labour intensive process. It leads to quality problems when different laminators have different laminating techniques.”
“The use of ply simulation software clearly shows the variations in fibre paths for nominally identical plies laid up using a different seed point and spread direction in the tool. The introduction of the FiberSIM ACEE suite of soft ware from Vistagy, enables us to accurately model each ply as it would be formed in the tool and to investigate the optimum seed point and spread direction. Coupling this digital model of the laminating process to automatic cutting machines and the kind of vision system and robotic manipulators already common in the automotive industry it should be possible to eliminate much of the manual labour involved.”
Naba TCS is seeking sponsors from industry who would be interested in this study and working with Naba TCS to develop these methodologies.
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