Ply-Picker Based System Solutions

ARM Automation can provide complete system solutions for cutting, kitting, sorting, ply-inspection and even automated layup using the Ply-Picker process. Each of the elements below can be configured to suit the needs of your application. By combining these elements, system solutions can range from stand-alone work cells to full-factory implementations for production and management of plys from the first cut to the final point-of-use.

Ply Picking Systems

One or more Ply-Picker head units can be configured to cover part or all of a cut table surface and kitting/layup area. Pick heads of various sizes can be fitted to any suitable robot or gantry positioner. Multiple heads can operate in tandem to clear cut tables at rates of up to 8 plys per minute, per head.


The most basic Ply-Picker implementation involves direct pick-to-kit operations. In this arrangement, plys are picked from a table in the reverse sequence required for layup and are gently deposited in a designated location. From here, kits can be manually retrieved and bagged or transferred to layup.


For applications in which sequential plys of a complete kit are not available within a single nest or table, or for cases in which dead stacking of plys is not desired, ARM Automation offers the “Kit-Cart™” ply management system. Here, cut plys are placed directly onto thin trays which are, in turn, loaded and extracted from one or more Kit-Carts by a fixed tray loading mechanism. In this way, plys can be temporarily stored in a high-density, portable format for later sorting or use downstream in the production process.

Direct Pick-to-Layup

A 3 rd option for cut ply processing involves the use of a specially equipped Ply-Picker head to directly pick, inspect and laminate ply shapes onto fixed tooling. This solution provides a means of automatically producing flat, or even gently curved, preform layups. These preforms can then be manually retrieved for subsequent forming or use in manual layup processes. Included in the laminating version of the Ply- Picker is the capacity to inspect ply shape, detect FOD, heat and apply consolidating pressure as well as automatically remove backer material for disposal for most material types.

Automated Sorting Station

For applications which require mixing of plys from separate nests or sources into sequenced kits, a separate ply sorting station can be provided. This solution provides the end-user with the ability to automatically build kits for bagging and cold storage, or for mixing kitted materials offline and away from the cut table operations.

Manual Layup

In support of manual layup operations, ARM Automation offers Kit-Cart Ply Presentation solutions which can control, track and sequentially present individual trays of select plys to manual layup technicians. This solution provides an automated means of ply sorting, material control and presentation without the need to physically shuffle ply pieces into sequence, manually track pieces after the automated pick and inspection process.

Each production floor is unique and workflow needs can vary greatly. ARM’s Ply-Picker and kit management solutions can operate as independent work cells or can be tied together by part tracking and database solutions to suit the needs of different applications, large to small.

Please contact ARM Automation to discuss your specific production needs.