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MTorres delivers hybrid AFP/ATL gantry machines to Airbus

News International-French

29 Jan 2016

A number of systems for efficient A350XWB wings skins fabrication are being delivered to Airbus plants, both at Illescas (Spain) and Stade (Germany).

When the Airbus A350XWB was launched, Automatic Tape Laying (ATL) Technology was defined as baseline to manufacture the wing main components. MTorres as a supplier of composite manufacturing equipment for the aerospace industry, was contracted at that time to deliver a number of ATL machines throughout the life of the program.

Since then, the focus was put in on increasing productivity and reducing material waste, so when the ramp-up happened new technologies were available in order to match the increasing demands with an optimum investment model.

When that time arrived, MTorres had developed and implemented successfully a totally new generation of Hybrid ATL/AFP solution for wing shells fabrication, which provided a relevant boost on productivity (up to 3 times higher) and a huge material scrap savings to the user (clearly offsetting the higher cost of the slit tape).

The new platform combines AFP end effectors containing 24 -1/2” width with ATL heads being capable to be interchanged in less than two minutes. The AFP end effector has been designed to contain high weight spools, up to 9 Kg, reducing the need of end-effector changes.
The flexibility of this configuration provides a good capability to optimize the wing shells programming allowing on one side an excellent fly to buy ratio and reduced final component weight plus the possibility of using additional end-effector to laminate other materials as glass-fiber, copper-mesh, etc. in the very same manufacturing cell reducing lay-up mold usage time, as well as logistics.

At the same time, the gantry system has been completely re-designed to deliver a high dynamic machine capable of extreme accelerations. Combined with the MTorres patented rotary cutting system which allows cut and add at any speed, the new end-effector provides the highest productivity system in the market.

The result of this project is several cells completely integrated, low operator dependant, optimum space usage and reduced logistic.
The system first units are commissioned at both Illescas and Stade plants, starting the production of the new wing shells, manufactured using the most advanced and efficient technology available today.

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