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Production of Rectangular Tubes using AFP-XS

Updated: Apr 4, 2022

In collaboration with MBDA and the Compositadour team recently demonstrated the process for manufacturing rectangular tubes with the AFP-XS. The layup program was generated using the winding feature of AddPath, and as shown in the video below, the AFP-XS performs the layup on the sharp radial corners ensuring wrinkle/pucker-free layup through sharp steering, while monitoring the process.

Rectangular tubes are one of the most basic building blocks for many modular systems in the industry. The following section highlights the key benefits of building rectangular tubes with the AFP process.

Why rectangular tubes

Tubes are commonly used as structural elements in buildings, bridges, and other engineering applications, and in a wide variety of end-use consumer products. Rectangular tubing has many benefits: aesthetic appeal, high strength-to-weight ratios, uniform strength, cost-effectiveness, and more.

  • Rectangular tubing has greater strength-to-weight ratios than other forms of beams. So, with rectangular tubing you need less material by weight to achieve the same characteristics, thereby reducing the cost of manufacture

  • Excellent load-bearing properties - in both torsional and compression directions - enables rectangular tubes to be suited to many different applications

  • Superior environmental resistance makes rectangular tubes particularly well suited for a wide range of outdoor applications

Rectangular tubes via AFP

The AFP process enables reduced wall thickness and weight while improving stiffness and strength compared to conventional winding and Pultrusion processes. Each part produced can be carefully optimized according to application and requirements by:

  • Optimized fiber orientation

  • Localized reinforcements

  • Diameters from 20 mm to 1000 mm


  • Lightweight and stiff structure

  • Electrically insulating and chemically resistant

  • Low thermal expansion design: dimensionally stable

  • Weatherproof


  • Tool handles

  • Constrained telescopic structures

  • Booms

  • Lightweight housings

  • Sports equipment

  • Robot arms

  • Antenna tubes


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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