Edge trimming composite preforms can reduce material waste and machining operations after the curing process. However, when it comes to parts with complex 3D geometries which require a high degree of accuracy and quality, this can be a challenging task. Loop Technology’s robotic trimming system, FibreCUT, offers a comprehensive and flexible automated solution.
By utilising ultrasonic technology, FibreCUT can effortlessly slice through composite materials. It minimises the chance of defects such as frayed fibres and tows lifting to provide clean, precise cuts. Accurate edge profiles can be achieved to minimise or even eliminate post-curing machining for certain applications.
As an adaptable cutting tool, it is capable of delivering numerous cutting operations, from edge trimming AFP and ATL carbon preforms with contoured paths around a mandrel, to cutting through stacks of dry fibre. Cutting blades are interchangeable with various sizes and profiles available, along with multiple programmes to offer the optimal cutting parameters for different materials and shapes. FibreCUT is well suited to aerospace, defence, automotive, marine, and consumer applications that require high quality parts.
The system can be deployed on a 6-axis robot or gantry to provide the required machining envelope allowing it to process complex 3D parts of any size. Depending on the material and blade configuration, FibreCUT can handle curves with radii as tight as 30mm, with a ±0.2mm path following capability. For dry fibre material with a 70mm blade, it can achieve cutting rates of up to 200mm per second, with up to 70mm cutting depth. For prepreg material with a 38mm blade, it can achieve cutting rates of up to 15mm per second, with a 5mm cutting depth in a single pass, up to 35mm total depth.
FibreCUT can be provided as a complete automated package with integrated equipment and software to perform ancillary operations including periodic checks for tool wear, blade verification, particulate extraction, force torque monitoring to identify blades breaking or discrepancies in material, and many more.
Loop Technology are specialists in industrial automation and robotics. Their range of modular composite manufacturing products cover automated deposition, forming and kitting, through to robotic machining of cured parts.