Automated Fiber Replacement

Composite materials, as compared to many traditional manufacturing materials, offer weight reduction, greater strength to weight ratio, greater design flexibility, and superior performance in a corrosive environment.

Automated fiber placement is a process that applies resin pre-impregnated fibers on complex tooling surfaces. The fiber comes in the form of what is referred to as “tows”. A tow is a bundle of fibers and is approximately 0.125” wide by 0.005” thick.  The tows are fed to a compaction roller and heated on the FPM head, and through CNC programmable robotic movements are placed in courses across a tool surface.

NCAM has two Ingersoll FPMs that are used in the manufacture of complex-shaped structure. Both machines are located within an environmentally controlled enclosure.

photo: FPM1

Automated Fiber Placement Machine #1 - 7 Axis

Capacity

  • 5 meters (16.4 ft.) diameter x 12 meter (40 ft. long domes on, 50 ft. long cylinder)
  • 80,000 lb. maximum mandrel weight

Features

  • 24 tow, bi-directional
  • Used in the manufacture of large-scale, complex-shaped structures
  • 450° F head maximum lay down temp
  • Cantilevered tool and "Domes on" capability
  • Advanced offline programming and simulation software

 

photo: FPM2

Automated Fiber Placement Machine #2 - 7 Axis

Capacity

  • 2.5 meters (8 ft)  diameter x 6 meters (20 ft)  long
  • 40,000 lb. maximum mandrel weight

Features

  • 24 tow, bi-directional,
  • 500° F head maximum lay down temp
  • Used in the manufacture of small to medium-scale, complex-shaped structures
  • "Domes on" capability
  • Advanced dexterity, streamlined head
  • New advanced CPS offline programming software

 

photo: enclosure

Enclosure

  • 160 ft x 90 ft Enclosure
  • Temperature control, 70°F +/-5°
  • Humidity control, 45% +/-5°
  • (2) 20 ton overhead cranes
  • (2) 20 ft x 20 ft roll up
  • 20 ft x 30 ft freezer (-10 to 0 F°) for the storage of resin pre-impregnated fiber

 

photo: autoclave

United McGill Autoclave

Capacity

  • 10 ft  diameter and 20 ft  long

Pressure Capabilities

  • Pressure control accuracy:  ± 2 psig
  • Pressurizing rate: 0-10 psi/min
  • Vent rate:  0-15 psi/min
  • Pressurizing medium: Nitrogen (200 psi max.)

Temperature Capabilities

  • Design temperature: 525° F max.
  • Constant temperature control accuracy:  ± 5° F
  • Heating medium: Electric
  • Minimum heating and cooling rate (average free air):  10° F/minute, ambient to 525° F
  • Temperature uniformity of working space: ± 5° F at steady state
  • Cooling medium available: cooling water at 85° F and Plant Air
  • Maximum Set point Overshoot: 10° F