You are here

Moving from CAD-designed composite parts to CNC programs

News International-French

17 Feb 2011

CGTech showcased a machine-independent fibre placement programming and simulation software program at the JEC 2010 show in Paris. Throughout the show, the company demonstrated the Vericut composite applications: Vericut Composite Programming (VCP) & Vericut Composite Simulation (VCS).



With VCP and VCS, the user can move from a CADdesigned composite part to CNC programs used to drive an automated fibre placement (AFP) machine. AFP machinery manufacturers often supply in-house off-line NC programming software with their machine, forcing companies to inconveniently adopt multiple software applications for multiple brands of machines. But the race is on to develop productive automated composite lay-up machinery and processes. To survive in this industry, a company must be able to select the best machine for the job, without the cost and risk associated with being locked to a single machine supplier.


Headquartered in Irvine, California, CGTech specializes in numerical control (NC/CNC) simulation, verification, optimization and analysis software. Since 1988, CGTech’s product, Vericut® has become an industry standard for simulating CNC machining in order to detect errors, potential collisions or areas of inefficiency. The company has subsidiaries in the UK, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Brazil and China.


“The best machine for the job”

VCP reads CAD surfaces and ply boundary information, adding material to fill the plies according to user-specified manufacturing standards and requirements. The lay-up paths are linked together to form specific lay-up sequences and serve as output as NC programs for the automated lay-up machine.


VCS reads CAD models and NC programs, either from VCP or other composite lay-up path-generation applications, simulating the sequence of NC programs on a virtual machine. Material is applied to the lay-up form via NC program instructions in a virtual CNC simulation environment. The simulated material applied to the form can be measured and inspected to ensure the NC program follows manufacturing standards and requirements. A report showing simulation results and statistical information can be automatically created.


Customer projects highlighted on the stand included: a large onepiece fuselage barrel on an Electroimpact multi-machine AFP fabrication cell; an aircraft inlet duct on a Cincinnati Viper 1200 AFP machine; the challenges encountered in supporting a flexible AFP gantry machine; lay-up of a U-channel structure on a 7-axis mTorres AFP machine; and aircraft skin panels and experiments using an AFP head mounted on a 6-axis robot.


CGTech also exhibited the latest version of the Vericut CNC machine simulation, verification and optimization software, which enables users to eliminate the process of manually proving-out NC programs. The software simulates all types of CNC machining, including drilling and trimming of composite parts, water jet, riveting, robotics, mill/turn and parallel kinematics. It runs standalone, but can also be integrated with leading CAM systems.