AZL demonstrated an intelligent digitalized production system for large scale series production of RTM parts
The AZL and IKV together with seven project partners have successfully completed the project iComposite 4.0. The Objective of the research project funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), was the development of a knowledge-based production system for the manufacture of hybrid FRP components.
The multi-material approach used makes it possible to use cost-effective materials sensibly through targeted design and thus save costs. The example of the production of a vehicle underbody showed the capability of the process for components of high complexity.
This was achieved by additive fiber spraying, which creates the near net shaped basic structure of the component. This process is highly productive but is subject to certain variations in material quantity and fiber orientation. These can be corrected in the following steps by autonomous decisions of the production system. For this purpose, an inline optical measurement system, consisting of a laser light section sensor and a camera, is used to characterize the preform. A digital twin is constructed and the mechanical properties of the preform are predicted by a structure simulation. On the basis of the mechanical properties, an individual reinforcement grid is calculated and layed up by the subsequent towpreg placement with continuous fiber-reinforced carbon fibers. This second production step is carried out independently of possible deviations in order to achieve the product characteristics of the hybrid component. In the event that the knowledge-based system detects weak points from the 3D fiber injection process, the towpreg structure to be draped is simply adapted to the individual component to compensate for production-induced stiffness deviations. Afterwards, impregnation takes place in the high-pressure resin transfer moulding (HP-RTM) process, which is adapted by individual selection of the shot weight. An RFID chip stores the production history that is integrated into the component. This continuous quality monitoring and the linking of the individual systems to a self-regulating production facility in the sense of Industry 4.0 should ultimately enable scrap-free production.
The AZL has overcome the challenges of limited automation, inefficient material usage, high rejection rates and no consecutive quality assurance in large scale series production of RTM parts within the project. A reduction of part costs of 50% is made possible by the intelligent combination of processes, material and technologies.
You can watch the whole process here.
For more information please contact us directly:
Research Assistant at AZL of RWTH Aachen University
Phone: +49 241 8024 519