NTPT™ has developed proprietary software to:
- Design pre-impregnated preforms compatible with draping in 3 Dimensions
- Make the simulation of thin ply composites fast and easy
- Monitor the Automated Tape Laydown system
- Ensure a full traceability of the process
Finite Element Analysis:
NTPT™ has developed a simulation method called Thin Ply Mesh Idealization (TPMITM) that makes the structural analysis of a Thin Ply layout quick and easy. With TPMITM, the mesh is attached to the part geometry and is not changed at all during the simulation and design optimization process.
For this reason, the mesh is typically quite detailed from the beginning, especially in areas with complex geometry.
The characteristics of the tape layout are then fed into the model, element by element, so that the solver can calculate the stresses on each element.
Depending on the results, the tape layout can be modified very quickly and fed again into the model for new calculations. This loop is repeated until the result is deemed acceptable by the designers and engineers.
With TPMITM, the long and painful meshing step is made only once and designers can focus on optimization of the tape layout.
Preform design software:
This software, named TPT® Layout, has been developed over a period of 10 years and is now a fast and easy tool used to design performs of unidirectional tapes. The performs can have the following features:
- As many plies as the designer wishes
- No limitation on fiber orientation : each piece of UD tape can be positioned at any angle (1 to 360°)
- Local reinforcement to address specific loads
- Tapering thickness at any position which in turn enables the use of scarf connections of 2-Dimension preforms.
Scarf connection principle:
In this example, preform A and B are made of 5 thin plies and each has a matched taper. A perfect match results when the two preforms are brought together.
Such preforms are made flat by our high output ATL system. The design of the tapered edges of the 2-D preforms facilitates assembly.
Once the preform design is completed, it is transformed into a list of instructions that our ATL will read in order to plot the preforms.
Tracking software and stock manager:
These 2 software modules ensure full traceability of the workflow.
The tracking software checks to see that the ATL makes the preform strictly according to the design and provides a complete report with production data, including reference to the prepreg material used.
This prepreg material has to go through our stock manager which keeps the full history of each roll of prepreg, with a countdown of the outlife.