Laminates & preforms

Prepreg, dry fibre, thermoplastics
Making laminates is the key step of any composite manufacturing process. The materials are still fragile and need to be accurately placed in the right sequence. An optimised composite part design has many layers, with local thickness variations and precise ply drop-offs, a combination of different materials and is made out of plies with complex shapes.

We have created the Automated Ply Placement technology, the only automation method in the market that can make such optimised laminates. It provides you the capability to design any composite laminate for optimised preformance and manufacture them with a high-rate, industrialised manufacturing system. In prepreg, dry fibre and thermoplastic composite.

Automated Ply Placement

The system converts rolls of materials into freeform, multi-material, tailored blank laminates using the Automated Ply Placement technology: plies are cut into the right shape and with advanced pick and place technology the tailored blank laminate is created.

The plies can be any shape, straight or with a freeform contour, and holes are no problem. These plies are placed and stabilised with spotwelding, to create a preform or laminate. Prepreg can be placed directly, after the protective backing paper or film is removed by the system.
Many materials can be handled: fabric, tape, core material, film or metallic layers. Thickness variations and ply drop-offs are not a problem and on-the-fly adjustment of the robot controls ensures high precision placement.
Play Video about Automated ply placement

Automated Ply Placement for Thermoset Prepreg Materials

Discover Airborne’s cutting-edge solution for Automated Ply Placement (APP) of thermoset prepreg materials. An advanced system designed to create freeshape, multi-material tailored blanks and tackles the significant challenge in handling prepreg, which is the removal of backing paper or protective foil.

Dive into the details of our unique approach, which utilizes several distinct strategies: kiss-cut, naked prepreg, and pre-layup removal, ensuring efficiency and precision in the placement of prepreg materials.

Significant efficiency improvements

If you’re involved in the composite materials industry, the video shows not only highlights innovative solutions to common challenges but also demonstrates the potential for significant efficiency improvements in the manufacturing process.

Play Video

Modular Building blocks

To address your needs efficiently, we have created a modular building block toolbox, which also provides the flexibility and scalability to adapt when needed. The core technology is always the robot with the Automated Ply Placement technology. The size and design of the end-effector can easily be adapted. The input of material can be with a conveyor belt cutter which provides maximum flexibilty, a tape feeder that is quick and robust, or a sheet feeder in case the material is not availble in roll format. Depending on the needs, additional sensors or camera systems can be embedded for measurement and inspection, and to provide on-the-fly corrections for high precision placement. After manufacturing, the system can offload the laminate, either into the buffer or directly into the next process step.

Automated Laminating

The robotised Automated Laminating system combines 3 functions in 1: Automated Tape Laying – laminate cutting – Automated Ply Placement. It creates tailored blank laminates made from UD tape prepreg material, net-shape and in any form. All robot code and process settings are automatically generated from the design input. The robot system can easily offload the laminates to the next processing step.
Play Video about automated laminating with full explanation - video Airborn

High volume thermoplastics line

An example of full system integration is the Falcon line, which is designed to make high-quality, tight tolerance composite laminates for consumer electronics. It can process thermoplastic composite material up to aerospace grades. It is fully automated, from material input to finished product, and can produce 1.5 million laminates / year with a cycle time per laminate of 15 seconds. The incoming material and produced laminates are both 100% inspected by online quality systems. Any defects are removed early in the process, to minimise material waste.

More insights

Scroll to Top