Case Study: Pilot Line Composite Deposition Cell for the NCC

The demand for composite structures continues to grow as aircraft manufacturers seek to make products lighter, stronger, and more durable. The current build rate for major single aisle programs targets 60 ship sets per month while future programmes are investigating a rate of 100. Established methods of manufacturing composite structures, which rely on labour intensive or tape laying techniques, can only yield 10 pairs of wings per month.

To bridge this gap, Loop Technology have developed a high rate deposition system comprising of two huge industrial robots deploying a range of wide material format end effectors that automate the wing production process.

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Watch the NCC’s video featuring our Pilot Line:


A game changer in aircraft manufacturing, the Pilot Line has the potential to cut wing assembly down from a week to a single day. This method of high rate composite deposition can place up to 200kg of material an hour with millimetric accuracy. The key attribute of the cell is its ability to process components up to 20m x 5m in size, one of the largest of its kind in the world.

Coriolis supported the project, supplying their state of the art DFP head and software simulation. Güdel supplied bespoke robotic gantry bridges to ensure the desired reach and control were satisfied around the cell area.

The Pilot Line was revealed as part of the NCC’s iCAP showcase along with 9 other state of the art composite manufacturing machines:

Read the full article at CompositesWorld.


The system incorporates the following items:

  • Bespoke Güdel gantry system, which included two bridges weighing 25 and 40 tonnes. One of bridges included a 6 axis wrist to provide the ultimate flexibility and dexterity.
  • Coriolis DFP head and calibration simulation software.
  • An ultrasonic cutting table capable of processing 20m x 5m plies.
  • Loop Technology 1.3m and 5.0m FibreROLL end effectors equipped with FibreTACK heads.
  • Loop Technology 4m FibreFORM end effector.
  • Loop Technology ultrasonic FibreCUT end effector.
  • Loop Technology FibreDRIVE control software to programme the FibreROLL and FibreFORM end effectors.
  • Loop Technology integrated PLC control and safety system.
  • Loop Technology programming interface providing the functionality and flexibility for sequencing automated production.
  • Loop Technology system guarding and roller shutter doors.
  • Loop Technology calibration probe.
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The Pilot Line layout is one of many available. Our design is based on the principle that the backbone of any cell is its adaptability and modular design base. As a result, we can create bespoke systems for preforming structures both large and small such as wing skins, fan blades, or small box structures.

Find out more about our composite solutions

If you are interested in talking to us about a similar project, please contact us.

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