During the last decade, most large aircraft structures manufactured in Carbon Fiber Reinforced Polymer (CFRP) have been produced using Automatic Tape Layer Machine (ATL) or an Automated Fiber Placement Machine (AFP). Typically, if the part is easy to design/manufacture, ATL was used, and productivity was high. If component was difficult, AFP was selected, and productivity was lower. Using the latest developments in AFP, like “Cut & Add” on the fly, has bought productivity levels of AFP in line or even higher than ATL.
So why invest in a “mature” technology?
At MTorres, we ask the very same question. Typically, the company reinvested 10% of the annual turnover in its own R&D to improve its products, and basically “most” of the money was going directly into AFP, as it has evolved dramatically in the last 15 years. The main drawback of ATL is its slow speed, as the CNC controlling the head must interpolate 11 axis at the same time. 20 years ago, there were few other options, plus controls in 2020’s is far more advanced. Recognizing this, MTorres provided full confidence to the ATL group to develop a new ATL machine without any limitation both in budget and timing (the lack of new Aerospace programs helped support this decision).
This presentation will demonstrate the efficiencies of ATL as the best solution for empennage lay-up.