Automated Tape Laying | Trelleborg's Advanced Composites

Tape Laying

We offer unique expertise in composite materials and automated processing. We develop custom, cost-effective composite processing equipment for the fabrication of high-quality composite structures.

One Single Tape

Automated Tape Laying (ATL) utilizes a single, wide, unidirectionally reinforced, slit tape to layup simple, gentle contours or flat parts. This is typically the case within Trelleborg Sealing Solutions as well, but we have taken some liberties with the definition when it improves the Customer’s automation solution. The need for individual tows or a single wide band should always be a compromise between the part’s surface geometry and the manufacturing throughput.

Simple geometries over large surface areas are typically approached by the industry with wide 6.000 inch — 12.000 inch (152.40 mm — 304.80 mm) tapes. While this solution may adequately handle the overall simple geometry, localized pad-ups and occlusions may still demand hand laid up or prekitted plies and hand trimming on the part surface. Complex ATL systems with “flying knife” technology may trim to a perfect edge of ply (EOP), but the scrap generated must be deposited off the part or removed by hand. This precise EOP capability seems attractive, but it adds to machine complexity. This increases cost and manufacturing time. It may be wise to consider a tailored approach using multiple wide tapes, perhaps 1.000 inch (25.40 mm), to approximate the EOP while maintaining higher throughput and reducing scrap.

Tape laying

Our Tailored Approach

We provide tailored ATL equipment with 3.000 inch — 12.000 inch (76.20 mm — 304.80 mm) bandwidths that handle unidirectional prepregs, fabric prepregs, and film materials. A trimming head may be integrated to trim the outer EOP prior to tooling the part for the cure cycle.

Our in-situ and pre-forming thermoplastic processes often utilize only one slit tape, but we still refer to this technology as Fiber Placement. The single tape may be as wide as 2.000 inches (50.80 mm), but we consider this to be narrow for the traditional Tape Laying nomenclature. Typical for thermosetting systems, but unavailable elsewhere for thermoplastic processing; we build mutli- 0.250 inch (6.35 mm) tape head systems for both in-situ consolidation and pre-forming applications.

All head technologies are modular, have modular sub-assemblies for convenience of cleaning and change out, and are supported by our easy-to-use software.

Advantages of Our Equipment

  • Advantages of Our Equipment
  • Reduced labor costs
  • Reduced material scrap
  • Right-sized to fit your specific application(s)
  • Automation means acceptable ROI
  • Reduced manufacturing space
  • Reduced manufacturing time
  • Automatic debulking of thermoset prepreg
  • In-situ consolidation of thermoplastic prepreg
  • Increased material throughput
  • Improved composite structure quality
  • Precise, repeatable, tension-independent process enables placement at any angle
  • User-friendly proprietary off-line and on-line software
  • Training and support packages tailored to fit Customers’ needs