Integrating 20 Tow, 1.5 Inch AFP Heads on Large Part for High Deposition Rate Application

Paper #:
  • 2017-01-2149

Published:
  • 2017-09-19
Affiliated:
Abstract:
As carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP) become integrated more and more into the design of aircraft structures, aircraft manufacturers are demanding higher speed and efficiency CFRP deposition systems. To facilitate the manufacture of large surface area and low contour parts (wing skins, in this case) at a high production rate, Electroimpact has developed a new Automated Fiber Placement (AFP) end effector consisting of twenty 1.5” wide pre-preg carbon tows. The new head design has been named the ‘OH20’, short for ‘One and a Half Inch, 20 Tows’. This AFP head format creates a deposition swath over 30 inches wide when all 20 tows are active. Two of these AFP end effectors have been integrated with a quick change robotic tool changer on a high speed, high acceleration, and accurate moving beam gantry. All end effector loading, maintenance, and cleaning can be accomplished in a maintenance cell while the other AFP head is in use depositing CFRP in the part cell. This has greatly increased machine cell up time and hourly deposition rate. In addition to the implementation of a robotic tool changer for the AFP heads, a high power, large IR heater and in-process profilometer inspection assembly has been combined and integrated with separate automated robotic tool changer drop off routine. This allows for multiple heads to use the same heater/profilometer assembly which provides a reduction in expensive hardware quantity requirements and improves the safety of the operators and equipment. All of this development has resulted in a greater than 900 pound per hour layup rate during production part program execution.
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