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NASA Marshall Multi-process Automated Composite Layup Cell

NASA Marshall Multi-process automated composites layup cell. Many different quick change modular process heads can be used on the same CNC controlled high accuracy robotic motion platform shown here. Modular heads for additive processes, subtractive processes, material handling and inspection can be used in various sequence on the same part and in the same cell by the same machine.

Necessary rock studies of the gabbro and andesite basalt groups for the suitability as the raw material base for the production of continuous basalt fiber (CBF). A unique technique including laboratory melting and pilot-industrial melting at the high-tech equipment.

This allows for more operations to be done in the same factory volume, while minimizing part handling, and capital expense associated with traditional dedicated single process cells. For large fragile parts it is more productive and cost effective to move the factory across the part (here in the form of different process heads) then move the part through the factory. Nature does its complex fabrication in one place not a moving line.

The 6th axis of the robot has infinite travel, and has been upgraded with a high performance servomotor. The infinite travel 6th axis allows for programming optimization and on part articulation free from wire harness travel constraints. It also has the effect of decreasing wiring harness fatigue.

Modular additive fabrication process heads can include, Automated Fiber Placement (as shown), Automated Tape Laying (ATL), Filament winding, Tape or charge Forming, Stitching, Epoxy Application, Material Pick and Place, plastic welding. Process heads could be used for printing thermoplastics with or without fiber reinforced.

Modular subtractive operations could include 6 axis, Ultrasonic trimming, routing or milling. Operations could occur in in series or alternate between additive subtractive operations.
Dimensional inspection or in process inspection systems can be ran as separate heads or, integrated into the process head itself (as with AFP, and ATL).

Material handling heads can load and unload tools, parts, or trimmed charges up to 750 kg in weight into and out of the cell.

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Companies: Electroimpact Automation

Technologies: Filament Winding

Terms: Aerospace automation, aerospace composites, Airbus, Automated Fiber Placement, Automated Tape Laying, Boeing, broetje automation, Composite layup, Composite Material, Composites processing, Coriolis, Electroimpact, Filament winding, filament winding machine, filament winding process, Lockheed, MAG, Mtorres, NASA (Spacecraft Manufacturer), Northrop Corporation (Aircraft Manufacturer)

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