Cevotec has successfully commissioned a SAMBA Pro Prepreg system, based on Fiber Patch Placement (FPP) technology, to the global aerospace, defense and security player Leonardo. Thanks to the adoption of FPP to their portfolio of automation technologies for complex composite in R&D development, Leonardo expands its capabilities and strengthened its role as innovation leader in the field of composite aerostructures. Cevotec’s SAMBA systems are particularly suited to automate the lay-up of multi-material composites and complex-shaped parts. The range of components matches well the requirements of urban air mobility applications (UAM) as well as complex sandwich structures for commercial aircraft.
“We are very proud to work with an aerospace and defense giant as Leonardo on advancing FPP technology for composite aerostructures. I’m impressed by Leonardo’s technological vision for future composite production, and we look forward to supporting them with Fiber Patch Placement”, says Thorsten Groene, CEO and Co-Founder of Cevotec.
The SAMBA Pro Prepreg system was commissioned beginning of March 2022 after one year of designing, developing and finally installing the system at one of Leonardo’s production facilities in Italy. It is the first FPP system featuring two 6-axis robots for tool manipulation and patch placement. Using a 6-axis pick & place robot for the patch placement operation significantly increases the capabilities to process larger and even more complex part geometries. The gripper attached to the placement robot, available in sizes from 45 mm x 90 mm up to 60 mm x 240 mm, can place patches across 90° edges as well as on biaxially curved surfaces without negative draping effects. The 6-axis pick & place robot enables further extensions of the system with additional placement features such as the rolling motion placement. This capability increases the degrees of freedom for placing patches on challenging surface geometries, including honeycomb cores.
Equipped with an advanced process monitoring, the system ensures that only 100% in-spec raw material is processed. The two in-process vision inspections systems for quality control check the geometrical accuracy of each patch as well as the position on the placement gripper. The SAMBA system with its advanced material cooling can process a various range of fiber material such as carbon and glass fibers – both in dry fiber and prepreg configuration – and other technical materials like adhesives. The ultrasonic cutting unit features a cutting head from GFM Austria and improves the cutting performance significantly, especially for prepreg material, enabling patches with an areal weight of up to 300 gsm to be precisely cut from the fiber tape.
“The system commissioned at Leonardo is the most advanced SAMBA Pro system to date”, states Dr. Dimitrios Sikoutris from Cevotec. “FPP has a big potential for aerospace manufacturing, and we are happy to advance this technology and develop new applications together with such an experienced partner.”
Here you can find the press release of Cevotec.