Boeing has patented a method and system for forming composite structures. The system includes a forming tool, ply distribution apparatus with dispenser and cutter, and work station. The apparatus provides cut plies of composite material in a sequence for positioning on the forming tool. GlobalData’s report on Boeing gives a 360-degree view of the company including its patenting strategy. Buy the report here.

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According to GlobalData’s company profile on Boeing, Light-weight composite fuselage was a key innovation area identified from patents. Boeing's grant share as of April 2024 was 76%. Grant share is based on the ratio of number of grants to total number of patents.

Automated system for forming composite structures

Source: United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). Credit: The Boeing Co

A recently granted patent (Publication Number: US11969957B2) discloses a system designed for forming composite structures efficiently. The system includes a forming tool with at least one surface and a length dimension, along with a ply distribution apparatus equipped with dispensers, a work station, and cutters to provide cut plies of composite material in a specific sequence for positioning on the forming tool. The apparatus can be positioned at various locations along the length dimension of the forming tool, allowing flexibility in the manufacturing process.

Furthermore, the system features a feed system controlled by a controller to dispense and cut composite material sheets, providing cut plies in a predetermined sequence. The apparatus automatically moves to the next laydown location after providing each sequential cut ply, ensuring a continuous and efficient process. Additionally, a flange forming device and a ply positioner enhance the application of cut plies onto the forming tool, further streamlining the manufacturing process. The method associated with this system involves dispensing, cutting, and providing cut plies in a specific sequence, ensuring precision and accuracy in forming composite structures. The system's ability to work with different rolls of composite material, each with unique characteristics, adds versatility to the manufacturing process, making it adaptable to various composite material requirements.

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GlobalData, the leading provider of industry intelligence, provided the underlying data, research, and analysis used to produce this article.

GlobalData Patent Analytics tracks bibliographic data, legal events data, point in time patent ownerships, and backward and forward citations from global patenting offices. Textual analysis and official patent classifications are used to group patents into key thematic areas and link them to specific companies across the world’s largest industries.