At Addcomposites, we talk a lot about "traditional AFP/ATL systems". That is because when someone in the industry thinks about AFP systems, they immediately think of large, heavy robots laying up fiber for aircraft wings and fuselages. It also shows that what we do here at Addcomposites is not traditional.
Traditionally, AFP/ATL systems would need months of infrastructure upgrades, months to manufacture and integrate the system, and then another month or two for actual installation at a customer's site. When the system does arrive, it comes in a box the size of a vehicle, and needs special equipment and operators to maneuver it through the shop to its designated area. Once there, it is a permanent installation.
In week 50, Addcomposites did what was previously unheard of for tape laying systems. We loaded up our toolhead and control box into the trunk of a car and drove two hours to our friends at KUKA Finland. We got to the facility a little after 10:00, and after a brief tour, we were ready to begin the install at 10:30. By lunchtime, the system was installed and the base was calibrated. Multiple test layups were performed after lunch to ensure high quality. Once the quality was proven, everything was deinstalled and packed back up in the car. Before the clock hit 16:30, we left KUKA and headed back to Helsinki.
The plug and produce methodology has finally come to tape laying systems. This is only one of the ways that Addcomposites is challenging the "traditional" norm of AFP/ATL systems.
A full article will be published at a later date with video and technical details of the installation and layup quality.