The most basic and oldest fabrication method for thermoset composites is hand lay-up, which typically consists of laying dry fabric layers or prepreg plies by hand onto a tool to form a laminate stack.
In order to achieve higher production rates corresponding to the foreseen ramp-up, we totally re-examined this production process by developing an automated preforming technology capable of taking one or more plies from an initial reference and placing them in their final position (flat or 3D) according to the lay-up plan (SMART Pick & Place).
Our SMART Control solution can complement the SMART Pick & Place in order to control the correct orientation of the fiber on all plies, before and after positioning on the compaction tool.
Objectives achieved :
- Reduction of cycle time
- Improved quality and repeatability by minimizing production variability generated by human factors
- Improvement of the working environment
- Adaptability (different composite materials and consumables can be used such as dry cloth, prepreg, adhesive tape,…)
Designed according to demand. Different configuration possibilities according to the requirements.
Example of configuration :
- Unrolling of the material and flat cutting of the different plies
- Lay-up and folding of the plies by the robot directly on the 3D compaction mold using a specific gripping system
- Control of the fiber orientation (SMART Control)
- Cutting of the sub-preform contours
- Assembly of the sub-preforms and closing of the injection mold
Standardized solution: SMART StackingSolution designed for the automatic production of stacks (2 plies per minute. This solution includes the universal gripper (SMART Gripper) and the SMART Control. Two references are available:
SMART CONTROL brochure SMART STACKING brochure