Fibre Placement

Automated Fibre Placement

The NCC is the best equipped research centre for Automated Fibre Placement (AFP) in the world. AFP is a unique process where individual tapes, called tows, are pulled off spools and fed through a delivery system into a fibre placement head.  These bands of tows, called a course, follows programmed fibre paths and is placed directly on to a tool or work surface to create a preform.  The individual layers of the preforms are consolidated on the fly, whilst a number of heating systems (infra-red, laser, flash lamps) are used to tack one layer to the other.  More recently, dry fibre tows are also used on AFP machines to create a preform for out-of-autoclave processes.

Tensioned Fibre Placement

Tensioned Fibre Placement (TFP) technology enables multi-material layup capabilities enabled by multiple heat sources with interchangeable AFP and TFP end effectors.  Tensioned Fibre Placement allows the automated deposition of fibres in complex geometries.  The equipment allows to mix filament winding and fibre placement into one single component.

Benefits & Applications


  • Modular heads enable for multi-format and multi-material type preforming
  • Reliable layup over large and complex geometries
  • Highly adaptable to meet research, development and manufacturing requirement


  • Concave parts (winglets, fuselage parts)
  • Sandwich parts (engine nacelles and casings)
  • Closed sections (pressure vessel)

Through-Thickness Reinforcement

The NCC has a Through-Thickness Reinforcement (TTR) capability allowing for the design and execution of TTR in both dry and prepreg laminates.  We offer a choice of tufting, stitching, direct insertion and ultrasonic z-pinning on large, tough and complex geometries.

Important for composites with substantial through-thickness loads (stiffeners, bends, brackets) or for impact damage mitigation.

- Stiffened aero panels, air intake panels

Tailored Fibre Placement

A tow of fibres is continuously sewn to a base material.


  • Affordable, agile, net-shape 2D preforming
  • Highly specific fibre position and orientation for tailored blanks
  • Enables net-shape preforms for reduced material cost
  • Cheaper raw materials for reduce process steps
  • Automated manufacture for increased repeatability

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COVID-19 update

Following the Prime Minister’s Briefing on Monday 23 March where he gave clear guidance for the nation to stay at home, and in line with University of Bristol action to close down all of its buildings, the NCC has taken the decision to close both the NCC HQ and NCC Filton centres until further notice, effective from 24 March 2020. 

The vast majority of NCC staff have already been working from home, successfully holding digital meetings with our members, customers and other partners and will continue to do so. You can still get in touch with us through your usual contacts via email and phone, or please email We are in touch with our customers to discuss arrangements for our current projects.

Thank you for your understanding and patience. We will continue to update our website and social media channels to keep you informed.