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MAG VIPER® Fiber Placement System stands out in competitive evaluation – earns order for two systems from Alliant Techsystems for F-35 wing production

MAG IAS has expanded its role as a supplier of manufacturing technology for the F-35 Lightning II with an order for two VIPER® 6000 Fiber Placement Systems from Alliant Techsystems (NYSE: ATK). The two systems will be the first MAG fiber placement machines installed at ATK's Clearfield, Utah, facility, bringing to seven the total number of VIPER AFP (automated fiber placement) systems installed at ATK plants. The order includes MAG's ACES software (Advanced Composites Environment Suite), a modular programming and simulation system, which will be customized with new functionality to aid programming of existing machines at the plant. The two systems will ship in early 2012.

"In the competitive evaluation leading up to this order, our ability to optimize the process and system for this particular application was a pivotal advantage for us," explained Randy Kappesser, vice president MAG Composites. "The VIPER system can deliver high lay-up rates with difficult bismaleimide (BMI) material, which is important to the cost-reduction goals for the F-35 program," Kappesser added. "Equally important, MAG proved it had the total, integrated package of hardware, software and processing expertise to ensure rapid and successful implementation in a demanding environment. Adding further value for the customer, we will create new modules for our ACES software, which will provide a single programming and simulation platform that encompasses this plant's new and existing machines."

"MAG offered the best combination of cost, schedule and technical risk with this equipment, and is willing to stand behind the lay-up rate demanded with this challenging BMI material system," said Vern Benson, chief technologist at ATK. "By combining ATK and MAG's prior experience, we expect a synergy that will redefine 'state-of-the-art' for automated fiber placement with BMI materials."

The current order reinforces MAG's role as leading supplier of automated production systems for the F-35 program, according to Kappesser. "To date, MAG has shipped or received orders for a significant number of fiber placement systems of various types for the F-35 program. MAG also supplies drilling and milling systems for the F-35 program and recently received an order from prime contractor Lockheed Martin for two AutoDrill systems to be used in wing fabrication," he added. "In the competitive and cost-reduction-driven environment surrounding the F-35 program, MAG production technology has proven itself a dominant force, favorably positioning our company to work with additional suppliers as the program ramps up."

The VIPER AFP system provides independent control over feed, clamp, cut and re-start for up to 32 individual tows of composite prepreg slit tape, allowing automated "on-the-fly" adjustment of the fiber band width, controlled placement of fibers around changing contours, and precise configuration of openings. The system allows wrinkle-free, near-net-shape lay-up of enclosed and deeply contoured structures and concave/convex surfaces for precision production of fuselage sections, panels, cowls, ducts and nozzle cones for commercial, military and space vehicles. The VIPER 6000 handles tow widths of 3.2, 6.4 and 12.7 mm (0.125, 0.25, 0.5 in), producing fiber band widths up to 406.4 mm (16 in).

MAG pioneered automated composites processing for building aerostructures, and its systems are widely used in major worldwide aircraft programs, with over 125 installations globally, nearly 40% of them in Europe and Asia. In addition to offering the fastest production proven composites machines, MAG has an extensive global footprint with 24 facilities providing system build and integration, processing expertise, and service for its broad range of machine tools and automated systems. Fifteen of these facilities are located in the European and Asian regions, close to the rapidly growing base of customers there. Expanding its technology portfolio in composites, MAG recently introduced an automated system for producing wind turbine blades that will dramatically reduce manufacturing times, while significantly increasing quality and longevity of the blades.

Press release issued by Fives Machining Systems, Inc. on February 9, 2011

 

 Contact details from our directory:
Fives Machining Systems, Inc. Composite Manufacturing Supplies, Boring Equipment, Lathes, Machining Systems, Cutting Equipment, Cutting Tools, Composite Tape Lay-down, Grinding, Laminating Equipment, Gantries, Drilling Equipment, Routing, Milling, Numeric Control Equipment, Materials Handling Equipment, Systems Integration
Orbital ATK - Aerospace Structures Rocket Motor Ignition Systems, Exhaust Systems, Engine Nozzles, Weapons Countermeasures, Engine Fan Casings, Wings, Springs, Aircraft Structural Components, Nacelles, Fuselage Sections, Engine Inlets, Shafts & Shaft Assemblies, Subcontracted Composite Parts

 

 Related aircraft programs:
Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II

 

 Related directory sectors:
Production Equipment
Composites

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