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Active Heated Tooling for Efficient, Effective Out-Of-Oven Manufacturing

Currently, out-of-autoclave processing tends to refer to vacuum bag-only cure in conventional, ambient pressure ovens. However, while ovens drastically reduce the acquisition and operation costs associated with autoclaves, they remain a necessary infrastructure investment, and continue to restrict part size to that of the oven cavity. An alternative approach involves active tooling, which integrates heating and sensing systems to ensure the desired temperatures (be they uniform or not) throughout the part. Our active tooling objectives are two-fold: to design and develop a capable, effective and efficient heated tool system, and to understand the influence of in-plane temperature distributions on OOA/VBO part quality.