Editorial: taking automated composites manufacturing to a new level
Fibre and fabric reinforced composites are being used increasingly in the production of components for aerospace and automotive applications. Such components are considerably stronger and lighter in weight than those made from traditional materials, such as steel and aluminium. As such, they are helping manufacturers to respond to growing pressures to increase the range of vehicles—especially electric vehicles and hybrids—and reduce the consumption of fuel by vehicles and aircraft. Tremendous progress has been made recently in automated composites manufacturing, and this was highlighted at JEC World 2019—a trade fair for the composites industry which was held in Paris, France, during March 12-14, 2019. In this report, Robin Anson discusses the latest innovations which were presented at the fair, with particular reference to fibre placement (AFP) technologies developed by CompoTech, Profactor and Voith Composites. He also discusses other "off-the-shelf" systems—notably automated tape laying (ATL) and fibre patch placement (FPP) technologies—which are expected to become more widely adopted throughout the industry.
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