The research facility in Augsburg was established in 2009 as part of the Center for Lightweight Production Technology and has been an independent site of the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR) since May 2011. The research carried out in Augsburg is not tied to specific institutes and sites and focuses on the field of production technology. Augsburg thus completes the process chain for the development and production of components made of carbon-fibre reinforced composites at DLR.
Center for Lightweight Production Technology
The Center for Lightweight Production Technology (Zentrum für Leichtbauproduktionstechnologie; ZLP) is a national DLR research facility that comprises the site in Augsburg and a further site in Stade in Lower Saxony. The DLR Institute of Structures and Design in Stuttgart will collaborate in ZLP with the DLR Institute of Composite Structures and Adaptive Systems in Braunschweig and the DLR Robotics and Mechatronics Center in Oberpfaffenhofen.
Carbon-fibre reinforced composites are used as materials for, among other things, the production of the next generation of commercial aircraft - lighter in weight, more fuel-efficient and, with the reduction in pollutant emissions, more environment-friendly. The demand for lightweight carbon-fibre reinforced structures has therefore increased greatly. This requires production methods that are economical while meeting the specific needs of the aerospace industry. The objective of the research conducted at DLR Augsburg is to develop a completely automated production process based on robots, because the deployment of flexible and interactive robotic systems reduces production costs while increasing productivity and production quality.
The 'Production Technology' research area at DLR Augsburg is spread across five themes:
- Textile and infusion technology
The focus of the studies is the gripping and robot-supported handling of limp, dry semi-finished carbon-fibre products. Here, the attention is placed on the low-contact and non-destructive handling of large blanks and pre-forms.
The short cycle times in thermoplastic processing offer great potential for high-volume components. The studies are focusing on the fields of automated stacking, forming and consolidation.
- Production-integrated quality assurance
New procedures with non-destructive inspection methods and suitable end effectors that enable inline quality assurance are being developed. Existing concepts of data management as well as methods for the automated analysis of the data need to be redefined.
- Assembly and interconnection technology
The reduction of seams through the highly integrated production of composite fibre structures is only one objective of this research area. The focus is equally placed on new techniques for the automated assembly of large aerospace structures.
- Robotics for the production of composite fibres
At the heart of the plant at ZLP Augsburg is a robotic research platform that permits the study of a large variety of manufacturing processes for large carbon-fibre composite structures in the aerospace industry with regard to their potential for automation.
At DLR Augsburg, science and industry can strengthen cooperative research into new techniques and develop optimised production technologies. The construction of ZLP in Augsburg is being funded by the city, the State of Bavaria and the German Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology.