Team Leader: Matthias Beyrle
In the aerospace industry there is the need for new automated production solutions due to the comparatively low production rates of aircraft in combination with the high number of part variants.
The Automation is one key element in reducing the production costs and to increasing part quality.
In the Process and Automation (PNA) team, our experts develop flexible, sensor-based production processes, e.g. new robust manipulation technologies.
For the development of cost-optimised parts it is essential to already consider possible manufacturing processes and their boundary conditions during the design phase. This enables us to develop the optimal part and process design.
In the PNA Team, we consider all manufacturing processes along the entire process chain, from material delivery to the finished part.
Drawing on many years of experience and in-depth knowledge of modern production technologies, we are able to
This enables us to develop innovative and robust manufacturing processes.
Validation at industrial scale
Our research activities focus on the maturation of manufacturing technologies at full-scale dimensions to make them more efficient and robust.
For this purpose, automation solutions are developed jointly with our partners in an industrial environment to make manufacturing processes not only faster and more efficient, but also reproducible and sustainable.
GLEN (for glare end effectors) is a tool designed for the 'pick & place' lay-up of fibre metal Laminates (FML) made from aluminium and glass fibre prepregs. The geometry is adjustable to cylindrical shapes on-the-fly. Gripper configurations for both materials are available that can be changed between tasks. The interplay of two end effectors in a robotic team enables the production of large-area FML components.
DLR (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0).
Robotic application of auxiliary materials for vacuum bagging on large 3D and 2D geometries. Application of auxiliary material packages on a full-scale spherical geometry of an rocket booster case (Ariane 6).
Semi-automated infusion technology for user-friendly manufacturing with reduced material waste. Manufacturing processes or lighweight composite structures with materials classified for aerospace applications.
Mulitfunktionales Greifsystem zum Pick&Place von verschiedenen Materialien auf einer Vielzahl an unterschiedlich geformten Oberflächen. Links: Drapierende Ablage von biegeschlaffen Hilfsstoffpaketen, Rechts: Präzise Positionierung einer Stringer Preform.
Automated Fibre Placement (AFP) is an additive manufacturing process for tapes made from carbon fibre reinforced plastics (CFRP). An ‘in-situ’ approach is a lean, one stage process for AFP with thermoplastic matrix. Cost intensive process steps such as an autoclave cycles are not necessary thus the opportunity for an effective production of large structural components is given. In Combination with flashlamp heating the process shows high flexibility in production due to reduced safety concerns compared to laser heating. Components of 4.5m length and a maximum diameter of 3m can be built in a flashlamp assisted in-situ AFP process using the ‘Fibre Placement Cell’ at the ZLP Augsburg.
The endeffectors are passively adjustable to spherical geometries using an external station and the robots motion. The draping of the material is achieved through a rolling pick-up motion.
Robotischer Wickelprozess mit trockenen Rovings zur Erstellung von Preforms zur anschließenden Vakuuminfusion. Die Anlage wird durch ein Dry Fiber Placement-Legekopf ergänzt der innovative Mischformen aus Wickeln und Tapelegen ermöglicht.
In addition to quality and robustness, costs are one of the most important factors in the evaluation of new automation solutions and their cost-effectiveness. For a complete and transparent evaluation, not only individual process steps are considered, but rather the entire process chain. Thus, different technologies can be compared with each other to identify optimization potential and to set up an optimized process chain.
The composite hot press in action: short cycles for complex structural components made of thermoplastic composites Hot press molding allows fast forming and consolidation of complex parts. In combination with the infrared heating system, short cycle times can be achieved based on the thermoforming of organo sheets. In addition to thermoforming, the system can also be used for variothermic consolidation of sheets and components. An integrated cooling system allows fast cooling of the parts.
Continous tape laying of wide prepreg tapes on a CFRP fuselage section. The applied tapes constitute a functional layer for the ligthning strike protection of CFRP fuselages. The figure displays the full scale demonstration of a robotic process to place the tapes on single and doubly curved fuselage surface.