Yes, it is possible to run the machine without material. I do this on a regular basis, for just the purpose you are describing. There are usually a couple of settings that I do change when I am first running “test” runs of a complex part program.
First, on the Magelis touchscreen, there are a couple of settings that I usually use:
1. I will set the head’s compaction function to retracted (Ret).
2. If I am using one of the heads that have the option to set the “pinch” rollers to “open”, I will do that as well:
Of course, the thermoplastic head does not have this option, so that is just left “as is”.
3. Finally, I will often adjust the speed of the machine to run at a rate somewhat slower than the final process speed. The rate chosen will depend on the complexity of the part (usually the more complex, the slower I will make my first run) and how comfortable I am with how the machine will respond. If there are concave regions in the part (which have the potential to make collision between the fiber placement head and the part), I will sometimes set the speed pretty low.
There are two ways that you can do this:
a. In the part program, change the splice process rate and the strip process rate to the reduced value and rebuild the part program.
b. Use the final process rates in the part program, but before pressing “cycle start”, use the “_“ button of the “Speed Override” section of the Magelis “Process Parameters” screen to change the percent of programmed speed to a reduced value:
This can also be done from the teach pendant (which is often more convenient):
Once the part program is running, and you start to feel more confident, you can increase the speed
override while the part program is running. The machine will respond within two or three moves
(points), so you can change the speed in the process.