Coriolis Composites has announced that the National Composites Centre (U.K.) is the first customer to purchase the company’s new C5 automated fiber placement (AFP) robotic gantry solution. A long-standing partner of the NCC, Coriolis Composites provided the center’s original AFP solution, and its C5 joins the C1 NCC purchased in 2018.
With C5, Coriolis Composites is ready to break into the large aerospace structure market where very high lay-up rates, high levels of design optimization and low material wastes are essential. Coriolis Composites’ fiber placement solution is said to enable the manufacture of highly complex parts tailored for industrial applications while remaining in the reach of research organizations. Its adaptable lay-up head ensures precision and repeatability essential to the aerospace industry. Combining the C5 with other industry technologies is said to enable the flexibility needed for the lay-up of large, complex industrial parts.
Coriolis Composites has adapted its C5 technology to a newly installed NCC gantry provided by the Loop-Coriolis Composites-Güdel consortium, as part of the NCC’s iCAP program. The investment for iCAP is of £36.7 million and is tailor-made to the NCC’s specifications, in order to speed the development of all forms of composite manufacturing. The iCAP program is funded by ATI, Local Enterprise Partnership and the High Value Manufacturing Catapult.
“The C5 will be one of five technologies we are combining in what will be the most advanced and flexible dry-fiber deposition cell in the world,” says Enrique J. Garcia, CTO of the NCC.
As per the modular design of the C5 fiber placement head, each fiber can be individually cut and restarted, providing high-speed gantry layup for large double-curved parts. The head has 1.5 inches (38.1-millimeters) wide thermoset, thermoplastic and dry-fiber manufacturing solutions, with the latter used by the NCC. The NCC’s dry fiber placement (DFP) head has six motorized spools with sensors to control the activation of individual spools and detection of fiber tension. Also, the head is exchangeable using an integrated docking station. The gantry is driven by a Siemens (Waltham, Mass., U.S.) 840D controller.
NCC had the requirement of a machine that can deliver high lay-up rates using dry fiber tapes for large structures, such as wing skins. In combination with the other deposition technologies included in the NCC’s prototype manufacturing cell, Coriolis says that the incorporation of the C5 AFP enables optimal layup with minimal material waste for full-scale aerostructure demonstration.
The multi-material capability of C5 also enables AFP technology to be used for large structures such as wind turbines, marine applications and civil engineering applications. Coriolis Composites has also developed the C3 as part of the gantry layup family.
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