Automated Composite Ply Kitting and Pre-Forming [Tech Paper]

Thursday, September 26 11:00 AM - 11:25 AM

Location: Convention Center | 210A

Session Information

Title: Automated Composite Ply Kitting and Pre-Forming [Tech Paper]


 So far kitting has been a labor-intensive job, that needs to be done, and nobody actually likes. Especially not the parts and aircraft manufacturers. This created, obviously, a business for people who take a job nobody likes and turn it into a profitable business. Everybody wins.

Now it is the future of kitting and pre-forming that is interesting. We have the full capability of advanced nesting software, often much more capable than we can use (take dynamic nesting, or prepreg warehouse inventory) and we have the capability of our robotized integrated buffer system that always knows where any ply, coming from the cutting table, is and needs to be, till final kit. So, what happens when these two systems are joined. Imagine 8 laminating cells waiting for their kits, all in their own time. On the other side a freezer with prepreg rolls, both fresh and some close to expiry date. In between the automated cell with fully automated cutting table, robot and buffer station. All joint by a digital backbone communicating back and forth. The automated kitting system can optimize both material utilization and laminating throughput, with just in time delivery of fully ordered kits to the operator. It can fast-track certain kits, or material streams due to expiry dates or shelf life and laminating cell availability.

Once you can imagine that, you can see the extended step of integration with pre-forming as well. The robot will not only buffer and order kits, it can now also be extended to automatically build pre-forms. Still making use of the ply buffer for maximum material utilization on the cutting table, but then placing the actual plies to build the pre-form rather than the ply kit.
In this paper the details of the robotized kitting and pre-forming cell will be discussed, such as the digital integration, ordering algorithms and other technologies involved.

Type: Manufacturing & Processing Technologies Conference Track