Composite material, fiber metal laminate, production automation, project ProfiRumpf
Fiber metal laminate is a composite material consisting of alternating layers of aluminum foil and pre-impregnated glass fiber. Creation of the preform offers various challenges for an automated implementation. The aluminum foils can be several meters long with a thickness of 0,3 mm. Handling end-effectors and processes have to ensure safe transport without inducing damage like wrinkles or dents. A pick & place approach with two cooperating robots has been selected for this.
The end-effectors for the handling of aluminum sheets are modular and can emulate the curvature of the tooling. Application of cut-pieces both in longitudinal and circumferential direction is possible. Vacuum-based grippers can safely handle sheets up to 8 m.
The glass fiber prepreg is applied with a continuous and rolling motion. Cutting of the material is done with ultrasonic knives. Potentially lay-up of a width of 460 mm is possible though the size is subject to local curvature.
In order to increase confidence in the process and enable detection of defects in an early production stage inline quality assurance measures are applied.
Positioning of the cut-pieces is verified during the lay-up process via TScan. This laser based triangulation system generates a 3D point cloud of the surface. An algorithm identifies the edge which then can be matched to the required position given by the plybook.