Addcomposites launches plug-and-play AFP / ATL for cost-effective composite manufacturing

The new AFP-XS transforms any robotic arm into an automated composite manufacturing system.

Addcomposites is a research project startup company at Aalto University in Finland, specializing in accessible automated composite manufacturing systems. It has developed a plug-and-play solution called AFP-XS for automated fiber placement (AFP)/automatic tape placement (ATL) processes that can be mounted on any existing robotic arm. This small and lightweight tool orders thousands of euros per month. By developing each subsystem, control and software elements internally, Addcomposites provides consumers with the lowest cost while maintaining aerospace-grade quality.

This cost and performance allows manufacturers to simply rent tool heads for their facilities and convert purchased robot arms into high quality ATL / AFP systems. The AFP-XS system uses dry fibers, thermoset prepregs and low temperature thermoplastic composite tapes to produce lightweight, complex shaped structures that optimize load and efficiency.

Addcomposites was launched as a research project in 2017 with the goal of integrating all the necessary steps of AFP – namely fiber feeding, tape cutting, dipping and placing – into one step. Its initial product, the AFP-XS, is the first step in this direction.

Addcomposites is currently located at the European Space Agency Business Incubation Center (ESA-BIC, Espoo, Finland) outside Helsinki and is conducting pilot production trials with new aerospace companies to validate the technology for a variety of applications. The company is supported by ESA-BIC funding and ESA-BIC customers, but will complete its seed funding by the beginning of the fourth quarter of 2019.

Addcomposites has just completed a composite manufacturing automation project with Finland’s largest composites manufacturer and is preparing to commercialize its AFP-XS tools by the fourth quarter of 2019. Other system features will be closer to disclosure at the time of this release.