Laser Heating System Introduced at LIFT


Laser Heating System Introduced at LIFT

Automated Dynamics is continuing their work with the Long Island Forum for Technology (LIFT) to provide advanced composite-manufacturing equipment and expertise to companies around the world. Pioneers in Automated Fiber Placement (AFP) technology, Automated Dynamics announced the sale of its AFP system to LIFT in 2013 and has now implemented a Laser-Based Heating System (LHS) for use in thermoplastic composite production.

LIFT, a not-for-profit organization, was founded over 35 years ago and exists to promote growth in technology-related fields of business in an effort to improve the economy of Long Island. They work alongside the New York State Foundation for Science, Technology and Innovation (NYSTAR®) and the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP). Stated in their Mission, “LIFT has an industry-driven initiative structure, providing Long Island businesses with networking opportunities, access to enabling technologies, hands-on assistance and a wide range of programs directed at creating an environment for innovation, lowering the cost of operations and increasing growth, focused on creating Long Island’s future. LIFT supports the defense and aerospace, medical device and healthcare, homeland security, energy, information technology and manufacturing clusters of the Long Island economy while partnering with local companies, organizations, Universities and the National Laboratory Systems.”

Automated Dynamics’ Laser Heating System offers yet another way for established and developing businesses alike to explore, through LIFT, an emerging technology and the associated advantages. Current hot gas heating methods have been used for automated fiber placement of thermoplastic composites, but come with relatively slow processing rates and increased expense. Alternately, laser heating provides higher energy density and more uniform heating for faster processing rates, higher bond strength and superior surface finish. Improved process control is achieved through closed loop control of the bond zone temperature in real time. This is possible due to the millisecond response time of the LHS compared to the hot gas torch (HGT) response time of minutes. Overall, these changes translate to a 30% savings in production time and a corresponding decrease in manufacturing costs. Enabling companies to explore these methods allows for experimentation and prototyping with relatively low upfront investment, as opposed to purchasing and implementing new systems independently. Testing the feasibility of new parts and processes encourages growth, innovation, and expansion of composites technology.

Furthering the impact, small-scale manufacturers and the evolving composites market have recently garnered attention from Senator Kirsten Gillibrand. Last month, at LIFT’s Composite Prototyping Center (CPC), Senator Gillibrand announced new legislation to help small businesses expand their manufacturing operations keeping high-paying, skilled manufacturing jobs within the United States. As referenced on her website, “Gillibrand introduced the Scale-Up Manufacturing Investment Company Act of 2015, a bill that would increase capital for entrepreneurs and small businesses looking to scale-up and commercialize their advanced manufacturing and innovation operations.” The full release with quotes from LIFT’s Executive Director Bill Wahlig and Automated Dynamics’ own Vice President of Engineering, Dave Hauber, can be found here.

Through the continued relationship with LIFT and consistent efforts to improve processes surrounding composite structure production, Automated Dynamics has positioned itself to advance the field of composites as their popularity grows in response to the demand for stronger and lighter-weight materials. Their unique equipment and cutting-edge manufacturing technology enable Automated Dynamics to consistently challenge the frontiers of composite structures and lead in the push for truly automated production of composite structures.

About Automated Dynamics

Located in Schenectady, NY, Automated Dynamics has led the way in automation in the composites world. Specializing in solution-based engineering services, manufacturing of advanced thermoplastic composite structures, and development of high-performance Automated Fiber Placement (AFP) equipment, Automated Dynamics puts sophisticated composite solutions at your fingertips.

Our experienced team of sales engineers works closely with every client to develop and deliver strong, lightweight designs and industry-leading processing equipment for use in the world’s most demanding environments. As a recognized innovation leader, Automated Dynamics has produced tens of thousands of composite structures, and our automation equipment can be found in 17 countries.