Fiber patch placement (FPP) is the advanced technology for the automated fiber layup of geometrically complex composites and reinforcements. The process uses a pick-and-place robot with a flexible patch gripper to precisely place defined fiber patches, automatically cut from a tape, on a 3D mold mounted on a tool manipulation robot. This allows for a discrete orientation of each patch and eliminates scrap as well as additional forming processes through additive, 3D net-shape preforming – either with dry-fiber or thermoset prepreg tape. Through individual orientation of each patch along load paths, mechanical properties like stiffness and strength improve up to 150% while the additive, individual fiber placement saves up to 30% of the precious material.
- Fiber patch placement
- Contrast with continuous fibers
- FPP vs AFP hand layup
Why Is It Important?
The need to increase productivity while reducing costs, increasing part yield and quality has been an overarching goal of all manufacturing but none as important as the manufacture of aerospace composite parts. Aggressive buy to fly metrics demand that the part meets the performance requirements with the least amount of material manufactured as fast as possible. Fiber patch placement and advanced design software systems enables users to design parts with specific focus on the load path while reducing material content. The part can then be analyzed in FEA software before manufacture on fully automated systems at high rates of speed. This unique approach holds the potential to solve manufacturing challenges that could only be met by hand layup.