Loop Technology was announced as Composites UK’s 2021 Winner for ‘Innovation in Composite Manufacture’ at their Industry Awards dinner held on 3rd November 2021 at the National Motorcycle Museum in Birmingham.
Composites UK, the Trade Association for the UK composites industry, organise the awards to seek out the most innovative solutions in the UK composites sector that create value and demonstrate technical excellence, market potential, originality, and benefits for end users.
“We are truly delighted to have received this Award” says Samantha Reece, Director at Loop Technology. “Being awarded Winner of ‘Innovation in Composite Manufacture’ acknowledges the strength, dedication and hard work the team at Loop Technology have demonstrated, as well as recognises that FibreFORM is an innovative piece of automation technology for use within the composite automation aerospace sector.”
The award was presented to Loop Technology Directors Samantha Reece and Alun Reece by Dean Ashworth of Zund, one of the event sponsors.
The Innovation – FibreFORM™
FibreFORM™ is a conformal pick and place end effector used to layup ply for composite preform manufacturing. Patented and unique in the market, the product addresses the aerospace industry’s need to produce large-scale, high-quality composite components in a cost-effective manner and at a rate capable of satisfying single aisle production volumes.
It is comprised of an array of individually controlled, fixed-pitch grippers positioned along a series of splines. This allows FibreFORM™ to pick up a ply; manipulate it to precisely match a complex double curvature 3D surface; place the ply into a mould tool with high accuracy; and repeat the process to build a preform stack.
This technology revolutionises the way preforms can be manufactured. By handling large pieces of multi-axial ply, it reduces the total number of pieces required; a wing which requires over 100,000 pieces would only require 100s – minimising manufacturing time and the factory footprint required thereby improving sustainability. FibreFORM™ offers a substantial step change to material deposition rates and is highly tolerant of the user’s material type, characteristics and geometry, handling shapes with cut outs and irregular sections with ease. Its modular design enables it to be scaled and optimised for a given deposition activity.