Robotic layup is a novel process developed to face the increasing demand for automation, flexibility, repeatability, and achieving high-quality composite materials in relevant industry fields, such as aerospace and automotive. This process is based on laying prepreg tissues on a mold using the action of a robotic arm equipped with a specific end-effector, which is usually composed of rollers and punches. The main drawback of the robotic layup is the occurrence of wrinkles and defects while moving, placing, and processing the pre-impregnated tissues. This issue is particularly evident in the processing of complex-shaped surfaces. The robotic arm cannot replicate exactly the movement of a human operator, following the geometry of the surfaces with a proper angulation like a human wrist. Moreover, operator hands can be set in a different shape just changing the configuration of the fingers, adapting themself in different curvatures. The demand of the industry to improve automation requires that the robotic manufacturing systems replicate as much as possible the gesture of the operator. Following these requirements, this study has focused on the recognition and discretization of the surfaces to be processed, in order to allow a robotic arm to better reproduce the movements of the laminators thanks to a better management of the end-effector. Moreover, an end-effector capable of replicating one of the techniques most commonly used by professional laminators on molds with complex geometries has been designed.
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