Horizontal tail plane fairing demonstrator

Learn more about our demonstrator!

This part is a process demonstrator for automated manufacturing of a legacy aerospace sandwich component. In light of increasing aircraft production rates and the need for cost reduction, Fiber Patch Placement offers an automation option to manufacture this complex multi-material component with the following unique features:

  • Full lay-up automation for composite skins, adhesives and honeycomb core with one production system
  • Lay-up functionalities adapted to legacy tooling (designed for manual operations)
  • Process efficiency for high rates, including the omission of intermediate debulking steps

Process: How was this part produced?

This full-scale demonstrator was manufactured in our SAMBA Step L lab system to showcase capabilities of FPP technology for aerospace components. The enhanced FPP lay-up options include:

  • Placement of carbon fiber reinforced patches directly onto the strongly curved tool (1stskin) and onto the honeycomb (2nd skin)
  • Placement of adhesive film
  • Placement of the preformed honeycomb core with a dedicated honeycomb gripper

Results: What is special about it?

In this demonstrator project, several functionalities of FPP technology were proven, upgraded or newly developed:

  • “Post Placement Push” motion to cope with geometric steps in legacy tooling
  • Advanced rolling motion movement of the 6-axis robot for complex geometries
  • Dedicated gripper for automated honeycomb placement (first-in-industry)
  • Gripper with zonal suction to release patches very precisely during lay-up
  • Use of active force-control during lay-up to protect the honeycomb core from crushing
  • AI-based Post Placement Vision inspection for the created laminates
  • Omission of intermediate debulking steps due to in-process compaction

This combination of features enables an end-to-end automation of multi-material parts lay-up, even on non-optimized legacy tooling, reaching an unparalleled level of productivity for complex aerospace parts.

Relevance: Which components are featuring similar challenges?

All components featuring similar requirements such as multi-material lay-up and / or complex surfaces (honeycomb cores, tight radii, sharp convex or concave areas) are sweet spots for Fiber Patch Placement technology. Examples are radomes, body, antenna and empennage fairings, nacelles, doors and other multi-material sandwich structures.

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