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Development of Robust Automated Handling of pre-impregnated Carbon Fibre
Linköping University, Department of Management and Engineering, Manufacturing Engineering.
2018 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (Two Years)), 20 credits / 30 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

Prepreg is a fibre reinforced polymer composite material often used by the aeronautical industry. The material supplier has pre-impregnated the fibre often with an epoxy resin and cured it to a semi-viscous B-stage where the material is tacky (adhesive). Manual layup of prepreg components is still common because there are only a few automated layup techniques which has limited geometric capability and high investment cost.

Swerea SICOMP is a research institute which have in collaboration with partners developed a manufacturing demonstrator for automated layup of carbon fibre prepreg components based on robotic handling. The manufacturing demonstrator is able to; feed out prepreg from a spool onto a cutting table, cut the prepreg into plies, pick the plies from the cutting table and place them on a layup table, consolidate the prepreg plies on the layup table and remove the backing paper that covers one side of the prepreg.

Three robustness problems has been identified and these forms the bulk of this master’s thesis. The first problem is that the robot is unable to place the plies on the cutting table with sufficient accuracy due to fluctuating position of the prepreg on the cutting table. The second problem is that the end effector used for the pick and place operation sometimes fails to pick the adhesive plies from the cutting table. The problem originates in limited holding force by the end effectors suction cups and limited capability to perform a peeling motion when picking due to the design of the end effector. The third problem is that process variables like temperature is believed to effect the robustness of the demonstrator but has not been further studied.

The first problem was solved by implementing a probing routine which measures the position of the prepreg on the cutting table with an array sensor mounted to the robot. The measurement values are used to reprogram subsequent operations.

The second problem seems to be solved by designing and implementing a new pick and place end effector. The new end effector has higher holding force and better capability to perform a peeling motion while picking and placing the tacky prepreg plies. Tests with the new end effector has been promising, the pick and placeoperation performs robustly, but all ply geometries was not tested and some minor adjustment is needed to further improve the placing accuracy.

The third problem has not been solved but studied. A literature study reviled that temperature, relative humidity and prepreg out of freezer age is likely to effect the prepreg adhesive properties which in turn is known to effect the robustness. A test procedure has been devised to test how these variables effect the robustnessof the demonstrator. The tests should be conducted when all process steps in the demonstrator is up and running.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2018. , p. 57
Keywords [en]
Composite Automation, Automated CFRP Layup, Prepreg, Pick and Place
National Category
Production Engineering, Human Work Science and Ergonomics Aerospace Engineering
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-148583ISRN: LIU-IEI-TEK-A--18/03011—SEOAI: oai:DiVA.org:liu-148583DiVA, id: diva2:1217999
External cooperation
Swerea SICOMP
Subject / course
Mechanical Engineering
Supervisors
Examiners
Available from: 2018-06-14 Created: 2018-06-13 Last updated: 2018-06-14Bibliographically approved

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CiteExportLink to record
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Citation style
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