Automated Composite Ply Picker – Composites parts manufacturer’s have been asking for an automated system to pick up plies from cutting tables and either organizing the plies into kits or to perform a direct layup of the plies onto a tool. In response to this demand to reduce the manual labor, errors and to enable significant improvement in ply traceability, ARM Automation has developed a unique robotic solution for ply picking and handling. This patent-pending tool head and system provides answers to several long-standing issues which have prevented the wider adoption of automation in production of traditionally hand-laid composites.
Automated Composite Ply Picker System
The system can identify where the next ply in the sequence is on the table and retrieve it. A sensor can detect if there are any uncut composites fibers that would prevent successful retrieval and an operator can be alerted. The ply will not be retrieved until the issue is corrected. If enabled, the same camera can detect FOD and alert the operator to inspect the ply further to determine if it can be corrected. Then, depending on the process that is selected, the ply can either be placed on a tray that can then be transferred to a freezer or depending on the tool, removes the backing and layup the ply as an operator would. This system is optimized for laying up quasi-isotropic flat charges purposed for spars and stringers.