Supporting UK Composites

Airborne Introduces Two New Composite Automation Products

Airborne Robotline

At JEC World 2018, Airborne, a supplier of automated and digital manufacturing solutions for composites, will introduce its latest innovations. As frontrunner in the field of composites automation, the Dutch company is going to introduce its fully Automated Laminating Cell using tape laying, cutting, and pick & place of composite laminates. Also, Airborne will show its Automated Honeycomb Potting solution to efficiently and accurately fill sandwich honeycomb with potting compound.

Last year, Airborne, as one of the first companies worldwide, introduced its fully automated kitting system. This year, the portfolio for automated composite manufacturing solutions is expanded with two new systems which will significantly reduce both touch labor and material waste.

The Automated Laminating Cell (ALC) is a low-cost platform that combines three functionalities: tape laying of the laminate, cutting by the robot of the finished laminate into the required shapes, and then pick & place for offloading the laminates to the next process step. The platform is based on standard robots, infused with new technology to be able to accurately lay the material according to aerospace specifications. Besides a small footprint and low investments, the cell can easily be adapted or expanded depending on the needs of production. The ALC can be tailored to specific products of product families, while maintaining the flexibility to produce a whole range of different composite products. The cell is highly flexible and can switch easily and within 1 minute between its automated tape laying, automated cutting and pick & place functionalities.

The Automated Honeycomb Potting solution is designed to fill honeycomb blanks efficiently and accurately with potting compound. The traditional practice in the aerospace industry is to apply potting material either manually or with a mechanised system. This new system will solve issues such as costs, accuracy and repeatability of potting, and thereby lowering the weight of the end product. It is also a very flexible system. The workflow is automated, with an easy-to-use pre-processor. Any shape of potting geometry can be used and the machine code is automatically generated. The system features real-time quality control,  measures the height of the honeycomb blank and adjusts the potting process.

Mr. Marcus Kremers, CTO Airborne: "Our automated solutions for composites manufacturing are the answer to more affordable, flexible and very easy to use systems. They are part of our building blocks for automation of composites and already fully digital. In close collaboration with our partners KUKA and Siemens, and our new partner ViscoTec for the Automated Honeycomb Potting system, we have succeeded to develop these robotised systems capable of the required accuracy to the levels needed to achieve aerospace and any other qualifications, without adding expensive additional equipment.”



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