Original Date: 05/08/1995
Revision Date: 01/18/2007
Information : Fiber Placement
McDonnell Douglas Aerospace (MDA)-St. Louis uses a fiber placement process to fabricate large and complex parts that are difficult to produce by conventional methods, and which reduces the material waste from hand layup. To support this fiber placement technology, MDA-St. Louis plans to have its fiber placement machine (constructed by Ingersoll Milling Company in conjunction with Hercules) on-line in August 1995. Fiber placement technology will be inserted into a production setting with the F/A-18 E/F. Another potential program is the C-17.
The CNC, seven-axis machine has a work envelope of 20 feet in diameter and 37 feet in length and is capable of supporting a combined part and tool weight of 80,000 pounds. The machine has a 32 tow head which utilizes a 0.182-inch width tow (5.82 inches band width).
Material acceptance tests have been performed satisfactorily at Ingersoll, and more are being conducted at MDA-St. Louis. Different ways of using the machine are also being investigated. Fiber placement work cells and applications are being configured to produce affordable composite structures. Continuous improvements are planned with inspection methods, material handling, and machine reliability.
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