The Laboratory for Advanced Materials, Manufacturing and Analysis (LAMMA) at The University of Texas at Arlington (Arlington, TX) has collaborated with Addcomposites (Espoo, Finland) to design and deliver a first of its kind double-tow AFP system, dubbed AFP-2X. The system was designed with Addcomposites' Plug and Place™ principles in mind - compact, lightweight, and easy to install - while handling two tows of dissimilar materials as desired. The versatile design is capable of manufacturing composite structures made with thermoset, thermoplastic, and dry fiber tapes.
The UTA LAMMA research facility, located in Woolf Hall, is ideally suited for development with the LAMMA partners as well as with the local industry in the wider Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex. With this installation, UTA is well positioned to perform extensive research on complex composite structures using multi-materials. Some topics of research include: improvement in throughput and quality using in-situ consolidation, manufacturing of complex structures with hybrid manufacturing techniques, and structural performance improvement through fiber path optimization with multi-material tapes, among others.
LAMMA and UTA also strive to educate and train the next generation of engineers. This one-of-a-kind system provides students and industrial partners with hands-on experience in working with advanced manufacturing automation of composite structures. The composite material design and manufacturing curriculum at UTA will be significantly enhanced with the system.
With the newly installed AFP-2X, the LAMMA team is positioned to:
Advance the state of the art in composite manufacturing
Increase educational outreach to local schools, colleges, and industry
Offer rapid prototyping for local companies interested in AFP
"We are excited to offer this first-of-its-kind double tow AFP system to the LAMMA team at UTA. It is an important step in the right direction for us to be able to offer larger systems handling more fibers. The work at the LAMMA Lab is interesting because it allows for multiple materials to be laid up with minimal human interaction. The process has a great potential to improve manufacturability of complex components, while simultaneously introducing the capability to take advantage of the different properties that different materials offer." says Pravin Luthada, CEO of Addcomposites.
Dr. Paul Davidson adds, "The LAMMA team is excited to have this technology available as it will enable our research and educational goals to be achieved in short order, while at the same time enabling greater cooperation with the local industry. Working with Addcomposites has enabled us to lead the way in multi-material research."
The tool was integrated into a cell that was designed and installed by The University of Texas at Arlington to suit its specific research needs. The tool was designed to be upgraded for thermoplastic processing, for which research will commence at the end of summer 2022.
For collaboration projects at the university, Dr. Paul Davidson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and for other AFP-related needs, James Kuligoski (email@example.com) and Pravin Luthada (firstname.lastname@example.org) are happy to speak with you about upcoming projects.