CAD/CAM - Software for robot supported composite laying systems
A German SME has developed a windows based software solution as an independent programming and simulation software for automated laying of fiber composite fabrics and tapes.
It is modularly built and opens extensive possibilities to simulate, visualize and analyze the laying of carbon-fiber-reinforced plastic (CFRP) tapes based on a CAD model. Here, an automated method covers the entire process chain from the development of the component to its production.
Especially in the aerospace industry, CFRP components play an important role as their weight is reduced by up to 70 percent compared to steel. Even the automotive and wind energy industries make use of these reinforced components. The manual production of reinforced fiber components is however very costly.
The overall process of developing a component of fiber reinforced plastics up to its production consists typically of the calculation and generation of the laying paths of the component under consideration of the tapes used, the graphical representation of the expected laying results and the generation of a production-oriented NC program for the robot cell.
Consequently, the tasks of the offered software solution consist of the creation of the generated laying path based on the boundary conditions, the measurement of the paths, the consideration of the technological influences and the visual representation of the model and the laying of paths and tracks, taking into account the effects of all geometrical and technological parameters.
The automated process creates significant optimization opportunities for these sectors for the manufacturing of the components which was previously manually done.
For the initial import of design data and its processing, the software is compatible with a state of the art CAD system. The area to be laid is defined by the user directly on the 3D model in the CAD system, which allows automated tape paths on curved surface models.
A whole range of parameters, which serve as a basis for the path generation can be freely defined. The result is the automatic path generation in the CAD software and the corresponding robot program. The generated and optimized simulation model is finally converted into a comprehensible robot program. The software supports most common types of industrial robots.
The simulation of the generated robot program allows analyses and checks in the planning phase, possible errors can be detected early and therefore be avoided. Offline programming is fully supported, the software serves as a link between virtual and real production.
As a standard solution, the software solution is open for further plant concepts in order to be able to reflect specific requirements of the manufacturing industry.
The system offers several modules as: - the generation of laying paths and visualization, - the generation and display of ‘tape-packs’ for production with modern end effectors that can simultaneously lay multiple tracks.- analysis of the curvature of individual simulated paths and automatic formation of ‘Tape Packs’ in the case of a match (parameters, such as the number of tapes in the laying head, are being considered)- cutting of individual tapes, if during simultaneous laying, multiple tapes tracks happen to have different lengths, the paths are cut independently from each other in order to save material.- integration of additional process points, as the paths of the individual tracks need to slightly overlap the actual laying point in the lying process, these process points can be mapped out.