Cevotec and partners complete aerospace sandwich fairings lay-up project

GKN Aerospace Deutschland, Cevotec, TUM – Chair of Carbon Composites, SGL Carbon, Augsburg University of Applied Sciences and Vabatec have successfully completed the grant-supported development project ACoSaLUS (automated composite sandwich lay-up system).

The partners took a wholesome approach to automate the production of complex composite sandwich parts by developing new materials and enhanced automation techniques, which were demonstrated on single aisle aerospace parts. The goal: increasing production rates for legacy parts by automation.

A key target of the project for Cevotec was to further optimise Fiber Patch Placement and build up an end-to-end automated lay-up process for composite sandwich parts. Dealing with the challenge of placing larger carbon fibre and adhesive patches on strongly curved legacy tooling, Cevotec advanced its Rolling Motion placement feature to consider multiple lay-up directions in one continuous movement. To further increase adhesion and overcome bridging effects, the robot can perform post-placement push-ins with the attached patch gripper, emulating typical manual lay-up activities. The additional compaction also supports the reduction of time-intensive intermediate debulking steps. Overall, the activities of this project resulted in a significant potential to accelerate the lay-up speed in series production. While final numbers are currently being worked out, the project partners can likely reach their initial objective of factor 7x in net lay-up speed acceleration.

To achieve full end-to-end lay-up automation, Cevotec has also developed a dedicated honeycomb gripper, enabling the 6-axis robot to pick and precisely place the honeycomb core on the mould. Additional features that were investigated during the project included an active force-feedback function to optimise compaction pressure during the lay-up and an AI-based post-placement vision inspection of the laminate.

Cevotec will exhibit the project demonstrator part at JEC World in Paris, March 5-7, at its stand M99 in hall 5.




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