Skip to content

A metrology-based technique for Automated Fibre Placement programming strategy optimisation

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstract

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages1
DatePublished - 21 Nov 2018
Event8th International Symposium on Composites Manufacturing for High Performance Applications - Netherlands Aerospace Centre NLR, Marknesse, Netherlands
Duration: 21 Nov 201822 Nov 2018
Conference number: 8


Conference8th International Symposium on Composites Manufacturing for High Performance Applications
Internet address


Dry fibre material has emerged as an alternative to pre-impregnated tapes for Automated Fibre Placement, promising higher conformability over steered paths and a more cost-effective manufacturing route. However, manufacturing components with complex geometries requires balancing conflicting requirements: minimum steering radius, maximum angle deviation and maximum tape gap width.

Complex geometries often require steering to keep angle deviation and gap width of quasi-isotropic tapes at a required minimum. The optimisation process of curvilinear paths however, often does not take into account manufacturability. It is current industrial practice to optimise the fibre paths based on nominal gap width, angle deviation and steering radii outputs of the programming software. However, since the software tool has a critical limitation in taking into account the material characteristics of the tape materials, a series of physical lay-up trials are carried out based on the programmed paths. The manufacturing quality of these paths are then judged by visual inspection and this highly subjective result is used for further program optimisation.

In this work, tapes were deposited on a complex geometry and the actual deposition quality was correlated with the result of the programming software tool. The actual path quality was measured utilising the surface topography of the preform captured by a laser line scanner, which was post processed in a commercial metrology software. This data was then compared directly with the quality prediction of the analysis tool provided by the AFP machine manufacturer, and the comparative results were used to understand the source of the deviations.

This work results in a database that guides the selection of the programming strategy based on preform quality instead on solely relying on nominal software output values. This will lead to less iterations between programming and deposition as well as enabling fine-tuning the programme software tool based on more realistic material behaviours. Enabling right-first-time programming for large composite structures will have a positive effect on wider adoption of Automated Fibre Placement.

    Research areas

  • Automated Dry Fibre Placement, Metrology


8th International Symposium on Composites Manufacturing for High Performance Applications

Conference number8
Duration21 Nov 201822 Nov 2018
Location of eventNetherlands Aerospace Centre NLR
Web address (URL)

Event: Conference



  • Abstract PDF (accepted author manuscript)

    Rights statement: This is the author accepted manuscript (AAM). Please refer to any applicable terms of use of the conference organiser.

    Accepted author manuscript, 197 KB, PDF-document

View research connections

Related faculties, schools or groups