Case study

Production of Rectangular Tubes using Automated Fiber Placement

30 May, 2022

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Production of Rectangular Tubes using AFP-XS

In collaboration with MBDA (France) and the Compositadour (Bayonne, France) teams recently demonstrated the process for manufacturing rectangular tubes with the Automated Fiber Placement (AFP-XS) and 3D Composites Manufacturing Software (AddPath).

Rectangular tubes are one of the most basic building blocks for many modular systems in the industry. The following section highlights the key benefits of building rectangular tubes with the AFP process.

Why are rectangular tubes?

Tubes are commonly used as structural elements in buildings, bridges, and other engineering applications, and in a wide variety of end-use consumer products. Rectangular tubing has many benefits: aesthetic appeal, high strength-to-weight ratios, uniform strength, cost-effectiveness, and more.

  • Rectangular tubing has more excellent strength-to-weight ratios than other forms of beams. So, with rectangular tubing you need less material by weight to achieve the same characteristics, thereby reducing the cost of manufacture.

  • Excellent load-bearing properties - in both torsional and compression directions - enable rectangular tubes to be suited to many different applications  

  • Superior environmental resistance makes rectangular tubes particularly well suited for a wide range of outdoor applications 

Rectangular tubes via Automated Fiber Placement (AFP) 

The AFP process enables reduced wall thickness and weight while improving stiffness and strength compared to conventional winding and Pultrusion processes. Each part produced can be carefully optimized according to application and requirements by:

  • Optimized fiber orientation

  • Localized reinforcements

  • Diameters from 20 mm to 1000 mm 


  • Lightweight and stiff structure

  • Electrically insulating and chemically resistant

  • Low thermal expansion design: dimensionally stable

  • Weatherproof  


  • Tool handles 

  • Constrained telescopic structures

  • Booms

  • Lightweight housings

  • Sports equipment 

  • Robot arms

  • Antenna tubes

Addcomposites with Automated Fiber Placement (AFP) Ecosystem

Addcomposites team has been working hard to bring the latest innovations to the AFP-XS ecosystem while achieving our mission of making composites manufacturing automation accessible. The major concern is that 65- 95% of thermoset composites manufacturing is still done by manual labor, let alone meeting the growing demand for automated thermoplastic composite manufacturing. With the growing demand for composites from various industries, the time for manufacturers to start planning for the future is now.

We rely heavily on the input from our community, which has driven the constant evolution of the AFP-XS. We're listening to our end-users, and continuously improving all aspects of the system. For any questions related to composites manufacturing, please contact us through

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