A “First” In Automated Composites Processing, New Interchangeable Cut/Clamp/Restart Module Increases Productivity, Throughput And Ease Of Maintenance

ERLANGER, Ky. — February 2013 — MAG has developed a new system to automatically exchange a fresh
cut/clamp/restart (CCR) unit whenever needed on fiber placement machines, eliminating downtime and
allowing the machines to maintain full production rates virtually uninterrupted. Developed for
Boeing South Carolina, the CCR changing system allows offline servicing of a contaminated end
effector to dramatically increase the production availability of new or existing machines. MAG
estimates the system will yield higher machine utilization and a significant time savings on part
production through minimized interruption of part layup. Boeing purchased the option on a new
VIPER® 6000 Automated Fiber Placement (AFP) System for the North Charleston, South Carolina,

“We expect the interchangeable cut/clamp/restart (CCR) system to be an important factor in
helping Boeing fulfill its plans for increasing production rates at the South Carolina facility,”
explained Robert Harper, Director Technical Sales, MAG Composites. “The VIPER 6000s have delivered
highly reliable layup for fuselage sections since 2006. The interchangeable CCR module will
maximize the machines’ efficiency and throughput, particularly when fabricating these large parts.”

The CCR changing system automatically exchanges one end effector for a second that processes
the same width material, utilizing a docking stand outside the work zone. The offline CCR can then
be cleaned or serviced without interruption to production. The interchangeable CCR module is
designed for easy maintenance, and can be disassembled in minutes without hand tools. “Unlike head
docking, this system leaves all the raw material aboard the machine and changes the end effector
only,” Harper added. “This makes the exchange fast and simple.” The interchangeable CCR module also
includes high-speed cut and add-on-the-fly rates as a standard feature.

The VIPER AFP system is the world’s most widely used platform for automated layup of complex
composite aerostructures. “While the industry struggles to introduce technology that can deliver
high-quality layup at required production rates, the VIPER has been supporting, and continues to
support, the largest number of aircraft programs worldwide, including commercial, military and
space,” Harper stressed.

The VIPER provides independent control over feed, clamp, cut and re-start for up to 32
individual tows of composite prepreg slit tape, allowing automated “on-the-fly” adjustment of the
fiber band width, controlled placement of fibers around changing contours, and precise
configuration of openings. The system allows wrinkle-free, near-net-shape lay-up of enclosed and
deeply contoured structures and concave/convex surfaces for precision production of fuselage
sections, panels, cowls, ducts and nozzle cones for commercial, military and space vehicles. The
VIPER 6000 handles tow widths of 3.2, 6.4 and 12.7 mm (0.125, 0.25, 0.5 in), producing fiber band
widths up to 406.4 mm (16 in).

Other recent innovations by MAG include the GEMINI™ Composite Processing System, introduced
in 2012, and the VIPER 7000 vertical gantry fiber placement system. The GEMINI vertical gantry,
built for accuracy and versatility in aerospace production, offers head changing capability to
accommodate various fiber or tape laying heads or a combination of both. The VIPER 7000, another
gantry platform, features a fixed head designed for speed and high-volume performance. Its design
allows unlimited part length and multiple work zones for the largest wind energy and aerospace
parts. In addition to hardware solutions, MAG also provides ACES® software (Advanced Composites
Environment Suite), the industry’s fastest and most powerful programming and simulation system for
both tape laying and fiber placement.

MAG pioneered automated composites processing for building aerostructures, and its systems
are widely used in major worldwide aircraft programs, with over 125 installations globally, nearly
40% of them in Europe and Asia.

Posted on March 5, 2013

Source: MAG