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Future Composite Manufacturer: Agile-Smart-Small series

The majority of composite manufacturers are engaged in providing small volume production service, and believe that the small volume production does not have room for automation; either due to high cost or will introduce unnecessary complexity. Let's dive into where these thoughts usually come from...

High capital Investment

Automation systems very expensive. It is primarily due to the amount of R&D that goes into technologies like Automatic Tape Laying (ATL) and Automatic Fiber Placement (AFP), as well as their traditional customer segment. But implementation of fully automated cells for Resin Transfer Molding (RTM) are also quite costly, which are found to be used for high volume fabrication of composite structures, such as for the automotive industry. These manufacturing equipment are associated with huge capital investments, because they took time to develop and are priced based upon perceived value added to each one's end user.

Not flexible

All the above-mentioned processes have been proven in their specific use cases, and have always been used for single part type production. Despite the AFP process capability, it has been largely restricted to the single wing shape application. So the common notion among composite manufacturers is that these automation processes are rigid and something that is unable to change or react with little penalty in time, effort, cost, or performance.

Only limited materials</