Get This Paper

Quality Monitoring of Composites Fabrication in an Industry 4.0 Ecosystem


Title: Quality Monitoring of Composites Fabrication in an Industry 4.0 Ecosystem

Authors: Scott Blake

DOI: 10.33599/nasampe/c.22.0129

Abstract: Compared to the automated production cycle times of large, complex components made from other materials, automated composites fabrication rates have begun to close the gap. Automated fiber placement (AFP), vacuum-assisted resin transfer molding (VARTM), press forming of thermoplastic composites, continuous fiber-reinforced 3D printing and other automation have drastically cut value-added production time. Production is accelerating all the more through Industry 4.0 data infrastructure, which enables design and engineering systems to simulate production and to directly transmit “as-planned” data to the fabrication floor. A missing link in this data ecosystem has been in-process quality monitoring of composites fabrication, still largely conducted by manual inspection or by limited automatic inspection technology. This paper will discuss the technology and mechanisms needed to extend Industry 4.0 data infrastructure to quality monitoring efforts on automated composites fabrication floors. Laser projection and machine vision technologies have advanced to serve as both a data-delivery and a data-collection node in an Industry 4.0 environment. They communicate 3D information meaningfully from CAD/CAM files to the physical 3D space of manufacturing work cell and tool surfaces; generate "as-built" data and images; and feed analyzed data back to the work cell to guide corrective actions and upstream to design and engineering systems for closed-loop process improvement. The full integration of these technologies, including recent enhancements to their functionality, onto a transparent platform for real-time data generation and communication enable composites fabrication to realize the cost savings and quality improvement expectations of Industry 4.0.

References: 1. R. Wolf and R. Lepratti (eds.), Smart Digital Manufacturing: A Guide for Digital Transformation with Real Case Studies Across Industries, 2021: Wiley VCH, Weinheim, Germany. 2. D. Jayasekara, N.Y. Gavin Lai, K-H Wong, K. Pawar, and Y. Zhu, “Level of automation (LOA) in aerospace composite manufacturing: Present status and future directions towards Industry 4.0,” Journal of Manufacturing Systems, 2022, 62:44-61. DOI: 10.1016/j.jmsy.2021.10.015. 3. “An Overview of the U.S. Commercial Aircraft Fleet,” by Forecast International, 10/1/2019, accessed 8/6/2020 on Defense & Security Monitor blog 4. International Energy Agency, “Electric cars fend off supply challenges to more than double global sales,” IEA, Paris, 2022. 5. T. Rudberg, J. Nielson, M. Henscheid and J. Cemenska, “Improving AFP Cell Performance,” SAE Int. J. Aerosp. 7(2):2014, DOI:10.4271/2014-01-2272. 6. S. Black, “Integrated Software: Streamlined Hull and Tool Design.” CompositesWorld, March 31, 2010. <>. 7. S. Blake, “Laser Guidance for Hand Laid Composites.” Presented at Society of Manufacturing Engineers (SME) Composites in Manufacturing 6, January 19-22, 1987, Anaheim, CA. 8. K. Mason, “Laser Projection Systems Improve Composite Ply Placement.” CompositesWorld, March 1, 2004 <> 9. A. Halbritter and R. Harper, “Big Parts Demand Big Changes to the Fiber Placement Status Quo,” presented at SME Composites Manufacturing, Mesa, AZ, March 2012. 10. J. Joseph, National Institute for Aviation Research (NIAR), professional communication at AeroDef, Nov. 17, 2021, Long Beach, CA. 11. J. Arena, “Visual Inspection of Printed Circuit Boards.” Test Magazine, Dec 1999/Jan 2000. 12. S. Blake, “Elements and Mechanisms for Applying Artificial Intelligence to Composites Fabrication,” SAMPE Technical Paper TP19-1475, 2019, DOI:10.33599/nasampe/s.19.1435 13. K. Potter, C. Ward, D. Crowley, M Elkington, S. Blake, D. Whittington, “Real Time Gauging of Wrinkle, Shear and Bridge Formation in an Automated Composite Manufacturing Process,” presented at the Composites and Advanced Materials Expo, September 27-29, 2016. 14. S. Blake, “Data Infrastructure in Composites Manufacturing: A Growing Need.” CompositesWorld, March 29, 2018. <>

Conference: CAMX 2022

Publication Date: 2022/10/17

SKU: TP22-0000000129

Pages: 13

Price: $26.00

Get This Paper