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ATI and Electroimpact Reinvent How NASA Looks at Carbon Fiber
Apex, NC , July 10, 2015
A new method of automated carbon fiber assembly has been developed and it will revolutionize the current manufacturing process. This process is called Integrated Structural Assembly of Advanced Composites or ISAAC. The system was created by Electroimpact, a highly experienced aerospace automation company, with close guidance by NASA Langley. ISAAC consists of a modified version of a standard KUKA industrial robot and a large, rotating, disk-like head that is loaded with up to 16 spools of carbon fiber ribbon. ISAAC utilizes ATI Robotic Tool Changers in the head of the end-effector, allowing it to be automatically detached and replaced with identical ones loaded with different tools. This enables the system to change over to another job efficiently, allowing engineers to dream up very dynamic options, and to enable quick implementation.

ISAAC also gives more flexibility in arranging the carbon ribbons and the fiber they contain. Conventional composites used in current production consist of many layers of fiber oriented at 0, 45, and 90 degrees. ISAAC can lay them down along a curving path, following a pattern specifically designed to increase strength and performance. This specific function allows aerospace manufactures to create stronger aircraft or spacecraft bodies. ISAAC's first assignments will be working for the Aeronautics Research Missions. ISAAC may also be used to produce other flight-quality hardware and aeroelastically-tailored structures for wind tunnel testing. This technology has been praised as "amazing" from the groups that work on it since it adds value at almost every process, making it indispensable. Kyle Jeffries, Project Manager at Electroimpact chose ATI’s Heavy Automation Tool Changers for their reliability, stating "as far as robotic tool changers go, they are second to none." He goes on to add "ATI is always willing to widen their product offerings and develop something new that will help us." This type of customer and engineering support is what sets ATI Industrial Automation apart from the competition.

ATI offers a wide selection of Tool Changer models to cover a variety of applications. Key features include: Excellent repeatability, high rigidity, and a lightweight and compact design. With over 25 years of robotic end-effector innovation, ATI’s engineering department, the largest of its kind for a robotic tooling company, is focused on developing cost-effective, state-of-the-art products and solutions.

More information on Electroimpact here.

More information on ATI Robotic Tool Changers here.

More information on NASA and ISAAC here.

NASA’s New Robot ISAAC, Intergrated Structural Assembly of Advanced Composites

ATI’s Heavy Duty Robotic Tool Changer, Model QC-210

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