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Enabling Automation of Composite Manufacturing through the Use of Off-The-Shelf Solutions
Linköping University, Department of Management and Engineering, Manufacturing Engineering. Linköping University, The Institute of Technology.ORCID iD: 0000-0001-8015-3039
2014 (English)Licentiate thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Composite materials offer an appealing combination of low weight and high strength that is especially sought after in high-performance applications. The use of composite materials has and is continuing to increase, and the use of the material has been shown to provide substantial weight savings in for example aircraft design. With an increased use of composite materials follows an increased demand for cost-efficient manufacturing methods.

Composite products are in many cases manufactured either by manual operations or by the use of complex automated solutions associated with high investment costs. The objective for this research is to explore an approach to develop automated composite manufacturing based on commercially available off-the-shelf solutions as an alternative to the existing automated solutions for composite manufacturing.

The research, which was carried out in collaboration with industrial partners within the aerospace sector, is based on a demonstrator-centered research approach. Three conceptual demonstrators, focusing on three different manufacturing methods and a number of physical demonstrators, are used to show that off-the-shelf solutions can be used for automated manufacturing of composite products.

Two aspects that affect if it is possible to use off-the-shelf solutions for automated composite manufacturing are the rigorous quality standards used by the aerospace industry and the great variety in product properties and material properties that is associated with composite manufacturing.

The advantages in using off-the-shelf solutions has shown to be that the solutions generally are associated with low investments and that published information about the solutions, and the solutions themselves, is generally available for evaluation and testing. When working with the demonstrators it has been shown to be useful to break down a manufacturing system into basic tasks and consider off-the-shelf solutions for each particular task. This approach facilitates the search for a suitable off-the-shelf solution to solve a particular task. However, each of the separate tasks can affect other areas of the manufacturing system, and an overall systems perspective is required to find solutions that are compatible with the entire manufacturing system.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Linköping: Linköping University Electronic Press, 2014. , 87 p.
Series
Linköping Studies in Science and Technology. Thesis, ISSN 0280-7971 ; 1692
National Category
Production Engineering, Human Work Science and Ergonomics Materials Engineering
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-111936DOI: 10.3384/lic.diva-111936ISBN: 978-91-7519-183-6 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:liu-111936DiVA: diva2:762133
Presentation
2014-11-20, C3, C-huset, Campus Valla, Linköpings universitet, Linköping, 10:15 (Swedish)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2014-11-10 Created: 2014-11-10 Last updated: 2016-09-26Bibliographically approved
List of papers
1. Automated Removal of Prepreg Backing Paper - A Sticky Problem
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Automated Removal of Prepreg Backing Paper - A Sticky Problem
2013 (English)In: Proceedings of the SAE 2013, Aerotech Congress and Exhibition, 24th-26th September 2013, Montreal,Canada, 2013Conference paper, Published paper (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

Automated solutions for manufacturing composite products based on prepreg often imply Automatic Fiber Placement or Automatic Tape Laying. These systems are generally associated with huge investments. For certain manufacturing applications it is interesting to investigate alternatives to find simpler and less costly automation. One example of an automated system could be the use of a standard industrial robot to pick single prepreg plies from an automated cutting machine and stack them to form a plane laminate. This paper is based on a case illustrating a product from the aircraft manufacturing industry. The case will demonstrate a pick and place concept on a general level and illustrate challenges that must be solved. The challenge selected to be the main focus for this paper is an automated process for backing paper removal. A literature review of different gripping technologies reveals several interesting technologies, and the most promising are tested for backing paper removal. The tests show that an automated removal process can be designed by using standard vacuum grippers in combination with mechanical clamping grippers. In order to lift the backing paper with a vacuum gripper an initial separation between the backing paper and prepreg is needed. This separation is most easily mechanically induced by bending the material. The proposed solution for automatic backing paper removal can be integrated in a manufacturing cell for manufacturing of the studied product.

Keyword
composite manufacturing, automation, prepreg, gripping technology
National Category
Production Engineering, Human Work Science and Ergonomics
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-99344 (URN)10.4271/2013-01-2289 (DOI)
Conference
SAE 2013 Aerotech Congress and Exhibition, September 24-26, 2013, Montréal, Quebec, Canada
Note

SAE Technical Paper 2013-01-2289

Available from: 2013-10-16 Created: 2013-10-16 Last updated: 2017-05-17Bibliographically approved
2. Three-Dimensional Ultrasonic Cutting of RTM-Preforms – A Part of a High Volume Production System
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Three-Dimensional Ultrasonic Cutting of RTM-Preforms – A Part of a High Volume Production System
2013 (English)In: Proceedings of the 19th International Conference on Composite Materials, 28th July - 2nd August 2013, Montreal, Canada: Composite Materials:The Great Advance / [ed] Suong Van Hoa & Pascal Hubert, Electronic Publishing BytePress.com , 2013, 8960-8969 p.Conference paper, Published paper (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

The process parameters for an automated, three-dimensional ultrasonic cutting process of RTM-preforms are examined in order to find how they affect the cutting quality.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Electronic Publishing BytePress.com, 2013
Keyword
composite manufacturing, ultrasonic cutting, preform, RTM, automation
National Category
Production Engineering, Human Work Science and Ergonomics
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-95875 (URN)978-0-9696797-1-4 (ISBN)
Conference
19th International Conference on Composite Materials (ICCM19), July 28 - August 2, 2013, Montréal, Canada
Available from: 2013-08-05 Created: 2013-08-05 Last updated: 2016-09-26
3. Automated Composite Manufacturing Using Off-the-shelf Automation Equipment – A Case from the Space Industry
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Automated Composite Manufacturing Using Off-the-shelf Automation Equipment – A Case from the Space Industry
2014 (English)In: Proceedings of the 16th European Conference on Composite Materials, 22nd-26th June 2014, Seville, Spain, 2014Conference paper, Published paper (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

A novel approach to the manufacturing of composite products using off-the-shelf automation equipment is explored in this article. A manufacturing concept for a specific product is developed and analyzed, from a technical perspective, in order to find areas where off-the-shelf automation equipment can be used. The article also highlights areas where case-specific solutions need to be developed. In this particular case, off-the-shelf automation equipment can be used for most of the tasks that the manufacturing system needs to perform. The most challenging process is identified as the application of adhesive. The manufacturing concept described in the article shows that it is possible to build a system for the manufacturing of composite components using a high degree of off-the-shelf automation equipment.

Keyword
composite, automation, off-the-shelf, adhesive joining
National Category
Production Engineering, Human Work Science and Ergonomics
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-109107 (URN)978-84-616-9798-4 (ISBN)
Conference
16th European Conference on Composite Materials (ECCM16), June 22-26, 2014, Seville, Spain
Available from: 2014-08-08 Created: 2014-08-08 Last updated: 2016-09-26
4. Composite Manufacturing: How Improvement Work Might Lead to Renewed Product Validation
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Composite Manufacturing: How Improvement Work Might Lead to Renewed Product Validation
2012 (English)In: Proceedings of the 5th International Swedish Production Symposium / [ed] Mats Björkman, 2012, 505-513 p.Conference paper, Published paper (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

High-performance polymer composites are mainly used in applications where the benefits of high strength and low weight justify the high material and manufacturing costs. Many of these applications are found today in the aerospace, space and defense industries. Most of today’s commonly used manufacturing methods within this area are highly labor intensive. Furthermore, the quality requirements from the customers require a high level of process control. The purpose of this paper is to explore how changes that are introduced in order to improve productivity in a manufacturing system are managed, particularly with regard to who takes the decision to implement a change and how a change is validated. The study is based on qualitative interviews performed at several companies that manufacture composite components for the aerospace, space and defense sectors. The findings show that the responsibility for deciding to implement a change and the need for validating it are based on many diverse and interconnected factors. Therefore, it is difficult to construct guidelines for early assessment of the scope and cost of a proposed change. Hence each individual change request must be evaluated on its own. The study also shows that the validation process can be adapted to a level that is based on the type of change. In addition, it highlights that control over process parameters in manufacturing is essential.

Keyword
composite manufacturing, validation, change request management
National Category
Production Engineering, Human Work Science and Ergonomics
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-85268 (URN)978-91-7519-752-4 (ISBN)
Conference
5th International Swedish Production Symposium (SPS 2012), 6-8 November 2012, Linköping, Sweden
Available from: 2012-11-14 Created: 2012-11-14 Last updated: 2017-05-17

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