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  • 21-Mar-2012 09:56 EDT

Using Programming and Simulation to Develop Optimized Processes for Automated Fiber Placement (AFP) CNC Machines


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Many manufacturing companies want to apply AFP technology to complex high-curvature part shapes. As new AFP machine technologies are developed to specifically apply material over complex shapes, new and innovative NC programming approaches are needed to successfully, reliably, and accurately apply material with good consolidation, while meeting the fiber direction and coverage requirements. A big issue with AFP is the production rate vs. part complexity. Most complex shapes can be created with a single .125? wide strip (tow) of material. But the production time would be impractically long. So machine builders create 6, 8, 16, even 32 tow AFP heads, and use the widest tow possible for the highest laydown rates. But then wide compaction rollers on these systems have difficulty consolidating material over curved surfaces, and the minimum steering radius of wider tows challenge the software?s ability to meet the layup requirements. This presentation will show how machine independent off-line programming software can help to develop efficient AFP processes by allowing rapid creation of several virtual layups in order to determine the best strategy. Attendees of this presentation will also receive a thorough overview of the steps needed to get from a CAD designed composite part to CNC programs that drive the AFP machine. Current projects will be used in discussing the implementation and use of off-line AFP programming and simulation. Key Points: Review the functionality of machine independent off-line programming and simulation software Show how the flow of information from composite design to programming software produces optimum processes Highlight key projects driving advances in technology development

Bill Hasenjaeger, CGTech.

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