In general: when manufacturing any component, the amount of materials required, its cost, and the duration of the process are the three main components for the economic assessment and efficiency of the manufacturing process. The CAESA® Composites TapeStation will present the programmer with all this information during the programming of the part, so they can be optimized and communicated to the manufacturer beforehand.
The material usage analysis displays various information about the material used for the part. It shows the size of the area that is to be filled with material and how much area is actually covered. From this, the amount of excess material – waste – is calculated and presented to the programmer.
Figure 1: The material usage quota analysis. For every ply, group of plies, and the whole laminate this information is accessible. Material that is not needed to fill the surface is considered waste. For instance, every bit of material that is only needed to meet the minimum tow length is considered waste.
The following figure shows, how much material is unwound per spool. Using this table, the manufacturer knows exactly, how much material needs to be available on each spool and can prepare the spools accordingly.
Figure 2: This table shows the material usage per slot of the layup head. When shifting the course grouping by using the “seed point offset” or the number of tows per course, the amount of material per slot and spool changes.
The simulation of the layup process is used to estimate the time, the machine needs to run to manufacture the part. Since machine time is often expressed in time/hour, a comparison of material cost vs. machine time can be made easily using these metrics. How such a simulation can be used to check for errors and collisions will be shown in an extra article later in this series.
Figure 3: The estimated duration is shown when spectating the simulation of the layup process. An advanced breakdown of the time needed per course is also available.
In next week’s article we will look into how a part is placed in a manufacturing cell, which actions are necessary to place it correctly and how this is achievable.
Until then, stay safe and stay tuned.