Path-Planning, Simulation, and Defect Detection Platform for Automated Fiber Placement

Updated: Apr 4

The AddPath platform now supports multiple AFP tools, enabling the end-users to use their existing hardware to its full potential. Addcomposites is developing and providing AddPath for a range of 3rd party AFP systems: currently it supports two commercial AFP systems and three independent academia developed AFP tools. Below we discuss why the AddPath platform was developed and the benefit of using the platform.


Challenge

As automation become a necessity for manufacturers around the world, AFP systems are being developed by both commercial companies and PhD level researchers for different applications. While the developed hardware is functional and places tapes as required, the software for programming the AFP process has been either oversimplified or overlooked entirely.

This fundamentally limits AFP tools' functionality from flat to very simple shape layups, or requires countless manual hours in trial and error of writing the program, without any immediate feedback.


AddPath Platform

AddPath provides a plug-n-play solution for such AFP tools. The users can get started by filling out a process documentation form (30 min) and can receive a customized AddPath for their AFP tool and robot, within days.


Benefits

The AddPath platform unleashes the capabilities of the AFP process by enabling:

  • Geometric freedom: Perform 2D layups, closed shapes (traditional AFP or tape winding methods) import stress paths and create your passes, plan selective area patches or passes to add localized strength, and much more.

  • Customized details: Trim, redraw, flip, or suppress individual passes to add the final touch to the automatically generated paths.

  • Fine Process control: Manipulate tool orientation at any point to address special geometric constraints, avoid collisions, control the heat profile and compaction force, and achieve in-situ consolidation.

  • Defect detection: Analyze the planned passes for fiber waviness, gaps, overlaps, and ply drops, then edit individual points for a high-quality result.

  • Sustainable manufacturing: Optimize layup strategies for minimal material and time usage by choosing approach, retract, and other tool motion parameters.

  • Virtual production: Create complete virtualized production simulations, visualize every step of the simulated motion, or run a collision/singularities analysis to identify troubled areas.

  • FEA software interoperability: Provide an FEA-ready file that can be imported into commonly used FEA software to analyze your planned layup with material definitions

  • Program: Automate program generation for select robotic languages with advanced TCP controls, eliminate any manual editing.

  • Automate changes: Edit program post-processor for specific geometry, material in a programmed manner to avoid editing small tweaks for each specific project.

  • Visualize data: Import and organize captured process data into AddPath, creating insightful visualizations to correct your programmed parameters and achieve a better result with every run.

  • Quality control: Generate quality control/assurance reports from the input and captured data, thermal images, and other process data. Highlight anomalies in real-time to notify the operator for correction.

  • Artificial intelligence: AddPath can export captured data into your own neural network platform in structured format to analyze the data and automate defect detection and further FEA validation

AddPath Platform

The vision of the platform is to support all the participants working towards advancing composites manufacturing automation, supporting the complete value chain of lightweight structure production and quality control. Increasingly the platform will expand its support to planning, simulation, data gathering, inspection, and automated quality report generation for the following key processes

  • Robotic and gantry based AFP

  • Robotic continuous fiber 3 printing

  • Robotic machining and polishing


Call to Join

We are constantly looking for partners to join in our vision and help us build the ecosystem. If you would like to join the ecosystem, feel free to drop us a line at info@addcomposites.com


Addcomposites

Addcomposites is the provider of the Automated Fiber Placement (AFP) system. The AFP system can be rented on a monthly basis to work with thermosets, thermoplastic, dry fiber placement, or in combination with 3d printers.


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