Norbert Steinkemper

Broetje-Automation Demonstrates Automated Fiber Placement With Recycled Carbon Fibers – STAXX One Completes AFP Product Family


Broetje-Automation lays the foundation for more sustainability in composite production. With the STAXX One, the latest member of the STAXX Fiber Placement product family, the industry-ready automated processing of recycled carbon fibers has now been successfully demonstrated. In this way, Broetje-Automation is supporting the transformation of the composite industry towards a sustainable production in the factory of the future.

Sustainable Material Variants

As a system integrator and special machine builder, Broetje-Automation GmbH has been experienced in the assembly and machining of large parts for over 40 years and occupies a leading global market position. In the field of composite manufacturing automation, Broetje-Automation has built a wealth of experience and a broad product family in recent years through the successful handling of numerous R&D and customer projects. Together with end users from various industries, Broetje-Automation is constantly developing innovative, tailor-made automation solutions for utilization in series production.

In particular, the processing of recycled materials in the field of CFRP production, so-called rCF materials, was investigated in the successfully completed project “ScrapSeRO” together with the Fraunhofer Institute for Casting, Composite and Processing Technology (IGCV) and several partners from industry and research. As a result, a novel AFP system called “STAXX One” was developed, which consists of a highly flexible AFP end effector on a robot and an associated rotary table. The special configuration was presented for the first time at JEC 2022 in Paris and is located today at the Composite Technology Center CTC in Stade.

Flexible Configuration Options

The STAXX One rounds off the STAXX product family with a small, cost-efficient, and highly flexible robotic solution. Particularly noteworthy in the high flexibility of the STAXX One are, on the one hand, the complete material independence, i.e. all material types from DryFiber to prepreg to thermoplastic can be processed. On the other hand, different configurations of the end effector can be realized within a few simple steps, depending on whether 1/4”, 1/2”, 1” or 2” wide materials are to be processed and whether these are provided on film coils or as so-called bobbins. For this purpose, various heating sources are offered, such as infrared heaters, lasers or others. The STAXX One is characterized by a quick set-up as well as an easy and fast cleaning of the lay-up end effector.

In particular, the activities for processing resource-efficient recycling materials expand the marketability of Broetje-Automation in this field of technology and create one of the core technologies for the production of future sustainable lightweight structures. In this way, users are optimally prepared for the ecological and economical requirements of the green Factory of the Future.

With the STAXX One, the groundbreaking Fiber-placement system, there is already a technology available for the automated layup of the latest generation of recycled materials. In addition to the rCF materials, classic glass fibers and carbon fibers can also be precisely processed of course, such as DryFiber, Thermoset and Thermoplastic Tows.

Thanks to the high degree of standardization of the Broetje-Automation layup head concept, numerous technology solutions are available for the entire STAXX product family. This covers an extremely wide range of components and the corresponding implementation of automated component series production.

Other currently successful projects include: the layup of entire wing shells with a DryFiber placement process (DFP) as well as the layup of novel hydrogen tank structures, such as those used for future passenger aircraft and other applications in the mobility sector. Here Broetje-Automation collaborates very closely with leading aircraft manufacturers and the German Aerospace Center (DLR). For DLR, Broetje-Automation has already developed and supplied the globally unique multi-robot AFP system GroFi®, on which production trials for the technologies of tomorrow are developed.