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ambliFibre Report Summary

Project ID: 678875
Funded under: H2020-EU.

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - ambliFibre (adaptive model-based Control for laser-assisted Fibre-reinforced tape winding)

Reporting period: 2015-09-01 to 2017-02-28

Summary of the context and overall objectives of the project

Worldwide there is a steadily increasing demand for components made of fibre-reinforced plastic composites (FRP) to be used for the manufacturing of a broad range of industrial goods. Tubular structures such as reverse osmosis vessels for seawater desalination, pipes for on- and offshore oil and gas pipelines, or high-pressure vessels, representing a total global market value of several billon € per year, constitute a major share of FRP components. This major share is also driven by the need of the reduction of dependencies to energy imports by the European countries especially during political crises. Current FRP production technologies cannot fulfil this demand, are harmful to the environment and cannot react fast enough to quick market changes.

Thus ambliFibre aims at fulfilling this demand by improving the diode laser-assisted tape winding process, systems and assisting software solutions to enable an efficient and flexible production for such advanced tubular composite products out of thermoplastic unidirectional (UD) fibre-reinforced pre-impregnated raw stock material, also called prepreg or tape. For achievement of this goal the ambliFibre objectives are:

Development of a laser-assisted machine control with integrated process data mining algorithms and easy-to-use programming software (Human-Machine-Interface HMI)
Building-up an integral process and machine simulation model for laser-assisted tape winding
Provide the inline monitoring solution for quality assurance directly after the consolidation process
Development of an active optics for dynamic redistribution of laser irradiation at the process area controlled using the input of a novel infrared (IR) camera and the simulation model results
Development and demonstration of a flexible machine concept which can produce continuously as well as discontinuously
Development of reliability and maintenance (R&M) models for the laser-assisted tape winding machine and evaluation of life cycle cost (LCC) of this system
Evaluation of the environmental impact of the ambliFibre materials, processes and components
Demonstration and validation of the model-based controlled ambliFibre system technology

The project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No. 678875

Work performed from the beginning of the project to the end of the period covered by the report and main results achieved so far

Based on detailed specifications, which were compiled by the whole consortium based on determined industrial requirements, work on the ambliFibre technologies progressed well within the first 18 months of the three-year project. By preparing and executing several Design of Experiments, the tape materials predefined in the beginning of the project were systematically processed into standardised ring samples. These were destructively tested to evaluate the sample consolidation at different parameter combinations. This information was used to build up data mining structures and algorithms including data acquisition, visualisation, filtering, evaluation and storage.

The simulation of process and machine consists of an optical model calculating the laser irradiation on tape and substrate surface during the process including specular and non-specular reflection models and different laser distributions. With this input data, a thermal model determines the temperature distribution on and within tape and substrate including the nip point, where these elements are in contact and the consolidation takes place.

To gauge consolidation and evaluate the connection of the tape layers, an inline monitoring subsystem is developed. Several optical non-contact detection methods like triangulation and thermography have been assessed and optimised. An ultrasonic embossment process has been developed, to produce defined test structures on the tape surface with the aim of adjusting and validating the monitoring technology with the highest level of information detail possible. The automation of the embossment process and the design of a test bench for inline monitoring have already begun.

An optical concept for a new laser optics was established to shape a multi-mode laser source into a rectangular, homogenised intensity distribution, which zoom factor and gradient can be adjusted to meet the requirements specified within the simulation model. This concept will be transferred to a mechanical setup, installed and validated within the next months. For the acquisition of reliable temperature data as input for the model and the data mining, a high frequency thermal camera has been simulated, designed and assembled.

The integration of all developed software and hardware modules into a virtual mock-up has already begun by compiling a conceptual study for a continuous and discontinuous tape winding system. To assess the life cycle impact of the whole ambliFibre system, the development of life data analysis models focused on the whole system based on data systematically structured and an extended Crow/AMSAA model evaluating failure modes. For environmental analysis, a functional analysis for an environmental analysis online tool has been implemented.

A plan for the dissemination and exploitation of ambliFibre’s results has been prepared to steer all efforts for an effective application of the technologies early in the project. Communication tools and a public website with a recognisable visual identity have been created to support the dissemination at public and industrial events. A stakeholder group has been founded to enable a discussion between the consortium and external industrial experts. Exploitable results have been identified and discussed, which will be further detailed in an Exploitation Strategy Seminar and in elaborate business planning templates guaranteeing an early examination of exploitation opportunities during and beyond ambliFibre.

Progress beyond the state of the art and expected potential impact (including the socio-economic impact and the wider societal implications of the project so far)

ambliFibre will end with model-based production of two different demonstrator parts addressing two completely different industrial applications in a demonstrator system using the new control and HMI in a laser cell and thereby achieve Technology Readiness Level (TRL) 6. These products will achieve higher quality compared to state-of-the-art products without the need for a high number of run-in tests. This demonstration will cover the entire development achievements from the simulation prior to process over the manufacturing using the new laser technology and the active thermography-based inline monitoring on embossed tape and finally end with the validation of the part by mechanical testing and comparison of the testing data to the data of benchmark products. These benchmark products will be produced with upgraded tape winding machinery used in industrial production (TLR 9). Demonstration video of industrial applicable turnkey system including the R&M and LCC report for real operation of this one will conclude ambliFibre.

For this reason the ambliFibre mission can be declared as follows:
The mission of ambliFibre is to develop and validate the first model-based laser-assisted tape winding system for the manufacturing of tubular thermoplastic FRP parts. Inline quality monitoring systems and for the worker easily manageable HMI in combination with novel integral machine and process simulation models allow system-reconfiguring to rapidly changing product and material demands. R&M model simulations and LCC and environmental assessments will ensure an economically and environmental friendly production.

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