Ehinger, P., Faubion, G., Hooks, J., and Seever, L., "Implementation of Non-Contact Drives into a High-Rail, 7-Axis, AFP Motion Platform," SAE Int. J. Aerosp. 6(2):767-773, 2013, doi:10.4271/2013-01-2288.
Traditionally, automated fiber placement (AFP) motion platforms use rack and pinion drive trains coupled through a gearbox to a rotary motor. Extensive use of non-contact linear motors on a new AFP motion platform produces a quiet, low-maintenance system without sacrificing precision. A high-rail gantry arrangement allows dynamic performance improvements to machine acceleration and speed, while lowering power consumption costs and capital expenses. The seventh axis incorporated into the machine arrangement effectively produces an effective “five sides of a cube” work envelope, permitting complex spar and panel fabrication.