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  • 1.
    Björnsson, Andreas
    Linköping University, Department of Management and Engineering, Manufacturing Engineering. Linköping University, Faculty of Science & Engineering.
    Automated layup and forming of prepreg laminates2017Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    Composite materials like carbon fiber-reinforced polymers (CFRPs) present highly appealing material properties, as they can combine high strength with low weight. In aerospace applications, these properties help to realize lightweight designs that can reduce fuel consumption. Within the aerospace industry, the use of these types of materials has increased drastically with the introduction of a new generation of commercial aircraft. This increased use of CFRP drives a need to develop more rational manufacturing methods.

    For aerospace applications, CFRP products are commonly manufactured from a material called prepreg, which consists of carbon fibers impregnated with uncured polymer resin. There are two dominant manufacturing technologies for automated manufacturing using prepreg, automated tape layup and automated fiber placement. These two technologies are not suitable for all types of products, either due to technical limitations or a combination of high investment costs and low productivity. Automation alternatives to the two dominant technologies have been attempted, but have so far had limited impact. Due to the lack of automation alternatives, manual manufacturing methods are commonly employed for the manufacturing of complex-shaped products in low to medium manufacturing volumes.

    The research presented in this thesis aims to explore how automated manufacturing systems for the manufacturing of complex CFRP products made from prepreg can be designed so that they meet the needs and requirements of the aerospace industry, and are suitable for low to medium production volumes. In order to explore the area, a demonstrator-centered research approach has been employed. A number of demonstrators, in the form of automated manufacturing cells, have been designed and tested with industrial and research partners. The demonstrators have been used to identify key methods and technologies that enable this type of manufacturing, and to analyze some of these methods and technologies in detail. The demonstrators have also been used to map challenges that affect the development of enabling methods and technologies.

    Automated manufacturing of products with complex shapes can be simplified by dividing the process into two steps. Thin layers of prepreg are laid up on top of each other to form flat laminates that are formed to the desired shape in subsequent forming operations. The key methods and technologies required to automate such a system are methods and technologies for automated prepreg layup, the automated removal of backing paper and the forming of complex shapes. The main challenges are the low structural rigidity and tacky nature of prepreg materials, the extensive quality requirements in the aerospace industry and the need for the systems to handle a wide array of prepreg shapes.

    The demonstrators show that it is possible to automate the manufacturing of complexshaped products using automated layup and forming of prepreg laminates. Tests using the demonstrators indicate that it is possible to meet the quality requirements that apply to manual manufacturing of similar products.

    List of papers
    1. 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, p. 505-513Conference 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.

    Keywords
    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
    2. 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.

    Keywords
    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
    3. Automation of Composite Manufacturing Using Off-the-shelf Solutions, Three Cases from the Aerospace Industry
    Open this publication in new window or tab >>Automation of Composite Manufacturing Using Off-the-shelf Solutions, Three Cases from the Aerospace Industry
    2015 (English)In: Proceedings of the 20th International Conference on Composite Materials, 2015Conference paper, Published paper (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    With an increased use of composite materials follows a need for rational, cost-efficient manufacturing processes. This paper explores how off-the-shelf solutions, developed for other purposes than composite manufacturing, can be used to build systems for automated composite manufacturing. Three demonstrators, each of them dealing with a specific type of material and all of them representing different manufacturing technologies for automated composite manufacturing, are presented and analyzed to find aspects that affect the ability to use off-the-shelf solutions. The three demonstrators target low to medium manufacturing volumes of complex products and they have been developed in collaboration with industrial partners within the aerospace industry. The conclusions drawn from the development of the demonstrators are that it is technically feasible to use off-the-shelf solutions in the three cases while adhering to the high quality standards of the industry. Furthermore three groups of aspects, quality aspects, product aspects and system aspects, which affect the ability to use off-the-shelf solutions for automated composite manufacturing, are identified.

    Keywords
    composite manufacturing, automation, off-the-shelf, aerospace
    National Category
    Production Engineering, Human Work Science and Ergonomics
    Identifiers
    urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-120300 (URN)
    Conference
    ICCM20 - The 20th International Conference on Composite Materials, 19-24th July 2015, Copenhagen Denmark
    Available from: 2015-07-27 Created: 2015-07-27 Last updated: 2017-05-17
    4. Low-cost Automation for Prepreg Handling - Two Cases from the Aerospace Industry
    Open this publication in new window or tab >>Low-cost Automation for Prepreg Handling - Two Cases from the Aerospace Industry
    2016 (English)In: SAE International Journal of Materials & Manufacturing, ISSN 1946-3979, E-ISSN 1946-3987, Vol. 9, no 1, p. 68-74Article in journal (Refereed) Published
    Abstract [en]

    With an increased use of composite materials within the aerospace industry follows a need for rational and cost-effective methods forcomposite manufacturing. Manual operations are still common for low to medium manufacturing volumes and complex products.Manual operations can for example be found in material handling, when picking prepreg plies from a cutter table and stacking them toform a plane laminate in preparation for a subsequent forming operation. Stacking operations of this kind often involves a greatnumber of different ply geometries and removal of backing paper and other protecting materials like plastic. In this paper two differentdemonstrator cells for automated picking of prepreg plies and stacking of plane laminates are presented. One demonstrator is utilizinga standard industrial robot and an advanced end-effector to handle the ply variants. The other demonstrator is using a dual arm robotwhich allow for simpler end-effector design. In combination with a previously developed system for automated removal of backingpapers both systems have shown to be capable of automatically picking prepreg plies from a plane surface and stack them to generate aflat multistack laminate. The dual arm approach has shown advantageous since it result in simpler end-effector design and a successivelay down sequence that result in good adhesion between the plies in the laminate.

    Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
    Warrendale, USA: SAE International, 2016
    Keywords
    Composite, Manufacturing, Automation, Low-cost, Prepreg
    National Category
    Production Engineering, Human Work Science and Ergonomics
    Identifiers
    urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-121602 (URN)10.4271/2015-01-2606 (DOI)000386445700008 ()
    Available from: 2015-09-28 Created: 2015-09-28 Last updated: 2018-02-02Bibliographically approved
    5. Robot-Forming of Prepreg Stacks ‐ Development of Equipment and Methods
    Open this publication in new window or tab >>Robot-Forming of Prepreg Stacks ‐ Development of Equipment and Methods
    Show others...
    2016 (English)In: Proceedings of the 17th European Conference on Composite Materials (ECCM17), 2016Conference paper, Published paper (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    Within the aerospace industry the manufacturing of composite components with complex shapes, such as spars, ribs and beams are often manufactured using manual layup and forming of prepreg material. Automated processes for prepreg layup and efficient forming techniques like vacuum forming are sometimes difficult to employ to these type of products due to technical limitations. This paper describes the development of tools and the forming sequence needed to automate sequential forming of a complex shape using an industrial robot. Plane prepreg stacks are formed to the final shape using a dual-arm industrial robot equipped with rolling tools. Tests show that the developed tools and the employed sequence can be used to form stacks to the desired shape with acceptable quality.

    National Category
    Production Engineering, Human Work Science and Ergonomics
    Identifiers
    urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-129925 (URN)
    Conference
    ECCM17 - 17th European Conference on Composite Materials 26-30th June 2016, Munich, Germany
    Available from: 2016-07-01 Created: 2016-07-01 Last updated: 2017-05-17Bibliographically approved
  • 2.
    Björnsson, Andreas
    Linköping University, Department of Management and Engineering, Manufacturing Engineering. Linköping University, The Institute of Technology.
    Enabling Automation of Composite Manufacturing through the Use of Off-The-Shelf Solutions2014Licentiate 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.

    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.

    Keywords
    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, p. 8960-8969Conference 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
    Keywords
    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.

    Keywords
    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, p. 505-513Conference 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.

    Keywords
    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
  • 3.
    Björnsson, Andreas
    et al.
    Linköping University, Department of Management and Engineering, Manufacturing Engineering. Linköping University, The Institute of Technology.
    Johansen, Kerstin
    Linköping University, Department of Management and Engineering, Manufacturing Engineering. Linköping University, The Institute of Technology.
    Composite Manufacturing: How Improvement Work Might Lead to Renewed Product Validation2012In: Proceedings of the 5th International Swedish Production Symposium / [ed] Mats Björkman, 2012, p. 505-513Conference 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.

  • 4.
    Björnsson, Andreas
    et al.
    Linköping University, Department of Management and Engineering, Manufacturing Engineering. Linköping University, The Institute of Technology.
    Johansen, Kerstin
    Linköping University, Department of Management and Engineering, Machine Design. Linköping University, The Institute of Technology.
    Alexandersson, Dan
    GKN Aerospace Applied Composites AB.
    Three-Dimensional Ultrasonic Cutting of RTM-Preforms – A Part of a High Volume Production System2013In: 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, p. 8960-8969Conference 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.

  • 5.
    Björnsson, Andreas
    et al.
    Linköping University, Department of Management and Engineering, Manufacturing Engineering. Linköping University, The Institute of Technology.
    Johansen, Kerstin
    Linköping University, Department of Management and Engineering, Machine Design. Linköping University, The Institute of Technology.
    Thuswaldner, Michael
    RUAG Space AB, Linköping, Sweden.
    Automated Composite Manufacturing Using Off-the-shelf Automation Equipment – A Case from the Space Industry2014In: Proceedings of the 16th European Conference on Composite Materials, 22nd-26th June 2014, Seville, Spain, 2014Conference 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.

  • 6.
    Björnsson, Andreas
    et al.
    Linköping University, Department of Management and Engineering, Manufacturing Engineering. Linköping University, Faculty of Science & Engineering.
    Jonsson, Marie
    Swerea Sicomp, Compraser Labs, Bröderna Ugglas Gata hus 208B, 58188 Linköping, Sweden.
    Johansen, Kerstin
    Linköping University, Department of Management and Engineering, Machine Design. Linköping University, Faculty of Science & Engineering.
    Automated material handling in compostie manufacturing using pick-and-place systems - a review2018In: Robotics and Computer-Integrated Manufacturing, ISSN 0736-5845, E-ISSN 1879-2537, Vol. 51, p. 222-229Article, review/survey (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    With increasing use of fiber reinforced polymer composites follows a natural pursuit for more rational and effective manufacturing. Robotic pick-and-place systems can be used to automate handling of a multitude of materials used in the manufacturing of composite parts. There are systems developed for automated layup of prepreg, dry fibers and thermoplastic blanks as well as to handle auxiliary materials used in manufacturing. The aim of this paper is to highlight the challenges associated with automated handling of these materials and to analyze the main design principles that have been employed for pick-and-place systems in terms of handling strategy, reconfigurability, gripping technology and distribution of gripping points etc. The review shows that it is hard to find generic solutions for automated material handling due to the great variety in material properties. Few cases of industrial applications in full-scale manufacturing could be identified.

  • 7.
    Björnsson, Andreas
    et al.
    Linköping University, Department of Management and Engineering, Manufacturing Engineering.
    Jonsson, Marie
    Swerea Sicomp, Compraser Labs.
    Johansen, Kerstin
    Linköping University, Department of Management and Engineering, Machine Design.
    Automation of Composite Manufacturing Using Off-the-shelf Solutions, Three Cases from the Aerospace Industry2015In: Proceedings of the 20th International Conference on Composite Materials, 2015Conference paper (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    With an increased use of composite materials follows a need for rational, cost-efficient manufacturing processes. This paper explores how off-the-shelf solutions, developed for other purposes than composite manufacturing, can be used to build systems for automated composite manufacturing. Three demonstrators, each of them dealing with a specific type of material and all of them representing different manufacturing technologies for automated composite manufacturing, are presented and analyzed to find aspects that affect the ability to use off-the-shelf solutions. The three demonstrators target low to medium manufacturing volumes of complex products and they have been developed in collaboration with industrial partners within the aerospace industry. The conclusions drawn from the development of the demonstrators are that it is technically feasible to use off-the-shelf solutions in the three cases while adhering to the high quality standards of the industry. Furthermore three groups of aspects, quality aspects, product aspects and system aspects, which affect the ability to use off-the-shelf solutions for automated composite manufacturing, are identified.

  • 8.
    Björnsson, Andreas
    et al.
    Linköping University, Department of Management and Engineering, Manufacturing Engineering. Linköping University, Faculty of Science & Engineering.
    Jonsson, Marie
    Swerea SICOMP.
    Lindbäck, Jan Erik
    Saab Aerostructures.
    Åkermo, Malin
    Royal Institute of Technology, KTH, Aeronautical and Vehicle Engineering.
    Johansen, Kerstin
    Linköping University, Department of Management and Engineering, Machine Design. Linköping University, Faculty of Science & Engineering.
    Robot-Forming of Prepreg Stacks ‐ Development of Equipment and Methods2016In: Proceedings of the 17th European Conference on Composite Materials (ECCM17), 2016Conference paper (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    Within the aerospace industry the manufacturing of composite components with complex shapes, such as spars, ribs and beams are often manufactured using manual layup and forming of prepreg material. Automated processes for prepreg layup and efficient forming techniques like vacuum forming are sometimes difficult to employ to these type of products due to technical limitations. This paper describes the development of tools and the forming sequence needed to automate sequential forming of a complex shape using an industrial robot. Plane prepreg stacks are formed to the final shape using a dual-arm industrial robot equipped with rolling tools. Tests show that the developed tools and the employed sequence can be used to form stacks to the desired shape with acceptable quality.

  • 9.
    Björnsson, Andreas
    et al.
    Linköping University, Department of Management and Engineering, Manufacturing Engineering. Linköping University, Faculty of Science & Engineering. Linköpings Universitet.
    Lindbäck, Jan Erik
    Saab Aerostructures, Sweden.
    Eklund, Daniel
    Swerea Sicomp, Sweden.
    Jonsson, Marie
    Swerea Sicomp, Sweden.
    Low-cost Automation for Prepreg Handling - Two Cases from the Aerospace Industry2016In: SAE International Journal of Materials & Manufacturing, ISSN 1946-3979, E-ISSN 1946-3987, Vol. 9, no 1, p. 68-74Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    With an increased use of composite materials within the aerospace industry follows a need for rational and cost-effective methods forcomposite manufacturing. Manual operations are still common for low to medium manufacturing volumes and complex products.Manual operations can for example be found in material handling, when picking prepreg plies from a cutter table and stacking them toform a plane laminate in preparation for a subsequent forming operation. Stacking operations of this kind often involves a greatnumber of different ply geometries and removal of backing paper and other protecting materials like plastic. In this paper two differentdemonstrator cells for automated picking of prepreg plies and stacking of plane laminates are presented. One demonstrator is utilizinga standard industrial robot and an advanced end-effector to handle the ply variants. The other demonstrator is using a dual arm robotwhich allow for simpler end-effector design. In combination with a previously developed system for automated removal of backingpapers both systems have shown to be capable of automatically picking prepreg plies from a plane surface and stack them to generate aflat multistack laminate. The dual arm approach has shown advantageous since it result in simpler end-effector design and a successivelay down sequence that result in good adhesion between the plies in the laminate.

  • 10.
    Björnsson, Andreas
    et al.
    Linköping University, Department of Management and Engineering, Manufacturing Engineering. Linköping University, The Institute of Technology.
    Lindbäck, Jan Erik
    Saab Aerostructures.
    Johansen, Kerstin
    Linköping University, Department of Management and Engineering, Machine Design. Linköping University, The Institute of Technology.
    Automated Removal of Prepreg Backing Paper - A Sticky Problem2013In: Proceedings of the SAE 2013, Aerotech Congress and Exhibition, 24th-26th September 2013, Montreal,Canada, 2013Conference 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.

  • 11.
    Lindbäck, Jan Erik
    et al.
    Linköping University, Department of Management and Engineering, Manufacturing Engineering. Linköping University, The Institute of Technology. Saab Aerostructures, Linköping, Sweden.
    Björnsson, Andreas
    Linköping University, Department of Management and Engineering, Manufacturing Engineering. Linköping University, The Institute of Technology. Compraser, Linköping, Sweden.
    Johansen, Kerstin
    Linköping University, Department of Management and Engineering, Manufacturing Engineering. Linköping University, The Institute of Technology.
    New Automated Composite Manufacturing Process:: Is it possible to find a cost effective manufacturing method with the use of robotic equipment?2012In: Proceedings of the 5th International Swedish Production Symposium / [ed] Mats Björkman, 2012, p. 523-531Conference paper (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    The use of carbon composites has continuously increased in the commercial aircraft industry due to more challenging weight targets which is one way to handle the environmental requirements to lower the CO2 emissions. One aircraft structure component made at Saab Aerostructures is long and slender U-sections manufactured in carbon composites. The manufacturing is performed by manual layup of composite material. These U-sections are selected as an illustrative case in order to discuss possibilities for an automated manufacturing process with the aim to reduce cost. A literature review of different existing technologies have been performed and compared with the industrial front at Saab Aerostructures. Automated Tape Laying (ATL) and Automated Fibre Placement (AFP) are the two dominating automation methods, of today, for aircraft prepreg manufacturing. Both methods are heavy investments for small to medium size composite manufacturers. Analysis in the case has shown that the selected component cannot be automated with these two methods due to design constrains. The paper suggests that another automated method with a cutting machine in combination with an industrial robot with a vacuum gripper, is selected for further work. The proposed pick and place process is also assumed to reduce the material waste.

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