Ultra High Rate Composite Deposition System for National Composites Centre

The National Composites Centre (NCC) needed a way to revolutionise the production of commercial aircraft wings; to build wings 10 times faster than what was possible with existing methods. The system also needed to be flexible, to provide opportunities for other applications and sectors.

Loop Technology, with support from consortium partners Güdel and Coriolis, designed, manufactured, installed, and commissioned the Ultra High Rate Composite Deposition system. The system can process components up to 20m x 5m x 1.5m in size – one of the largest of its kind in the world.

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The Ultra High Rate Composite Deposition System is a 17m x 31m cell with several individual systems integrated together.

It allows the NCC to develop, test, and automate the production of large composite preforms.

Capabilities include:

  • cutting and kitting ply
  • deposition of both dry fibre tape and wide format ply
  • trimming of preforms to net-shape
  • achieve processes with millimetric accuracy
Custom Güdel gantry

Two gantry bridges on a common 30m track to deploy the various end effectors in the system.

Bridge one has a payload of 600kg. It has a vertical mast with a 3-axis rotary wrist to provide the flexibility and working volume required by the DFP head.

Bridge two has a payload of 2000kg. It has two independent vertical axes on separate Y-axis carriages, with C-axis rotation to provide roll and yaw for the wide format ply handling end effectors.

Cutting table

An ultrasonic cutting table to cut nested plies up to 5m wide x 20m long for kitting and layup.

Runtime software

Programming interfaces to sequence automated production, the operator interface, and provide monitoring capability.

Coriolis dry fibre placement (DFP) head

A six-tow Coriolis C5 DFP head, equipped with a flash lamp, to lay dry fibre tapes.


A ply handling end effector to pick, form and layup ply onto double curvature shapes up to 1.5m x 4m in size.

FibreROLL – 1.3m wide and 5m wide

Two composite ply handling end effectors to pick and roll up dry fibre ply up to 20m long onto a storage roller, then store or layup the ply.

Integrated with FibreTACK a heating system to activate binder and stabilise ply periodically during layup.


An ultrasonic knife end effector to trim plies to net shape.

Integrated with inbuilt extraction system to minimise contamination of the preform.


A ply storage system including kitting racks for rolled ply for use with FibreROLL, and kitting drawers for flat ply for use with FibreFORM.


2.4m high steel guarding with polycarbonate viewing windows, two roller access doors 7.5m and 15m wide, and two personnel access doors.

Offline Programming Software

Loop Technology FibreDRIVE – to generate and simulate ply pick and place for the FibreROLL and FibreFORM end effectors.

Coriolis CATFiber© – to generate and simulate paths for the DFP head and FibreCUT end effectors.


One of the major challenges of this project was the limited space available. When dealing with 5m wide, 20m long plys, what seems like a large corner of a workshop rapidly shrinks. This was overcome with meticulous planning to make sure no space was wasted. Strategic compromises were made, whilst still ensuring the required functionality was met.

Another challenge was the very nature of carbon fibre fabric. Certain types are designed to be very formable. To pick up a material, designed specifically to form easily, without changing its shape, is difficult to achieve. Even more so at a high rate with large ply sizes. This was overcome with thorough research, testing, development, and innovative engineering.


Since its installation in 2020, the NCC have used the Ultra High Rate Composite Deposition System to make huge leaps forward in composite manufacturing. They are on track to deliver a dry-fibre deposition rate in excess of 350kg per hour – 75% more than the initial targets.

The NCC recently completed a third Wing of Tomorrow wing upper cover. Find out more on their website.


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

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