Cevotec, a fiber composite
engineering firm headquartered in Munich, has signed a
distribution partnership with Manufacturer’s Representation
Firm Composite Automation,
LLC. Under the terms of the agreement, Composite
Automation, LLC will become the official representative for
Cevotec’s unique Fiber Patch Placement (FPP) additive
manufacturing technology across the US, Canada and Mexico.
Pick and place Fiber Patch
Fiber Patch Placement (FPP) technology is a robot operated
manufacturing technique for making fiber composite objects. The
technology is targeted at industrial use in aerospace,
machining, medical, sports and automotive industries, e.g. for
ski/snowboard reinforcements, helmets and
lightweight car parts.
The process works by layering composite fiber patches (that
look like scales) over a pre-fabricated surface, typically made
Schematic of the
Fiber Patch Placement (FPP) process. (1) A roll of composite
fiber tape is (2) laser cut to specified dimensions, (3)
inspected for quality (4) picked and (5) placed on to a pre-made
substrate. Image via Cevotec
The patches are custom cut from a roll of fiber tape, inspected
for quality, then
picked and placed onto the pre-fab substrate by a gripper.
The substrate is turned accordingly to ensure even and
interlocking placement of each patch.
Completing the process, the finished object is removed from the
substrate by a third robotic gripper.
A “truly disruptive” technology
Existing partners applying the FPP process include Airbus, and
German mechanical engineering firm Baumann Automation. The
partnership with Composite Automation, LLC is the result
of positive feedback received at the 2017 Composites and Advanced Materials
Expo (CAMX) held in Florida.
“We are very happy to have John Melilli and his team at
Composite Automation to introduce the benefits of patch
technology to every composite manufacturer in North America”
comments Thorsten Groene, Managing Director of Cevotec GmbH.
“This technology is truly disruptive,” adds John Melilli, owner
of Composite Automation, LLC, “From the design to the
fabrication of the part, the complete process is managed by the
Cevotec software and automation system.”
“The full properties of the part are known before the part is
manufactured. Reliable throughputs and material usage are
empirically understood. This data is part of the
justification for a machine acquisition.”
Other approaches to 3D printing carbon fiber
additive manufacturing (CBAM) from Impossible Objects and
continuous carbon fiber 3D printing process from
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Featured image shows Cevotec’s Fiber Patch Placement
(FPP) system. Photo via Cevotec