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What is Automated Fibre Placement (AFP)?

Automated Fiber Placement

Automated Fiber Placement (AFP) is an additive manufacturing process that has three different inputs: fiber/polymer tape, heat, and pressure. The end-effector expertly handles the tape and deposits it onto a surface with the help of heat and pressure. The process allows the fabrication of highly customized parts as each ply can be placed at different angles to best carry the required loads. The use of robotics gives the operator active control over all of the process's critical variables, making the process highly controllable and repeatable. This process can result in additively manufactured composite parts that are two times stronger than steel at one-fifth of the weight.

Process Fundamentals

The AFP process is essentially a mechanical-chemical bonding reaction running at the velocity of the robot's motion. The chemical process is mostly heat-activated via heaters and pressed using a compaction roller to insure low porosity. Lets g

Automated Fiber Placement Manufacturing Process

AFP systems consist of the following components:

  1. AFP tool mounted onto a robot

  2. Automation control system

  3. Planning and Simulation software