Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

Cheaper and faster composite manufacturing

The composite materials industry has great potential but it is hindered by high manufacturing process costs. Researchers have developed a new manufacturing concept including process monitoring and structural analysis for composite structures that costs less both in money and time.
Cheaper and faster composite manufacturing
Composite manufacturing processes require a disproportionally high effort for optimal process parameters and to meet required qualities and tolerances for high-performance, lightweight structures.

Industries are increasingly asking for materials to substitute for high-volume parts in order to reduce weight and material costs. However, manufacturing processes for high-performance composites are either too inefficient or the materials are not strong enough.

The EU-funded ECOMISE (Enabling next generation composite manufacturing by in-situ structural evaluation and process adjustment) initiative worked to develop a novel production system to foster next-generation thermoset composite manufacturing and post-processing. The researchers have successfully developed high-precision processes that increase efficiency and reduce production time.

ECOMISE developed a knowledge-based manufacturing approach that costs less in time and money. For the first time, the researchers created an in situ evaluation of composite properties during manufacturing, and coupled that information with immediate process adjustment.

Through the Probabilistic Process Predic module, ECOMISE developed more reliable methods to predict the continuous manufacturing process from beginning to end, with final de-moulding. Considering process reliability, the researchers selected the most efficient methods based on the required accuracy they found for each one.

The researchers also developed the Online Process Monitoring module to identify process properties such as composite quality, defects, infusion and curing processes. ECOMISE developed sensor hardware such as a new lightening concept with reduced reflections during fibre orientation measurement.

Team members also provided the In-situ Evaluation module, containing new methods and tools for real-time structural analysis and evaluation of the effect of defects on component level during manufacturing.

Finally, the developed In-Situ Process Adjustment module replaces current procedures by an automated in-situ decision making capability. Measures for process adjustment are derived by integrated real-time optimisation algorithms. These measures lead to a significant reduction of waste of material and energy while ensuring the required part quality.

These results promise to have a significant impact for SME and industry end users such as suppliers of composite structures.

Related information

Keywords

Composite manufacturing, composite structures, online process monitoring, optimisation, ECOMISE
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