Short Courses and Market Overviews

Wednesday, January 26, 2022





Advances and Challenges in Automated Fiber Placement (AFP)

Instructors: Ramy Harik, University of South Carolina and Sayata Ghose, The Boeing Company Moderator: Alma Saiya Automated Fiber Placement (AFP) is a process used to manufacture high volume large composite parts particularly in the aerospace industry. In this advanced tutorial on AFP the following topics are covered. (1) Design for manufacturing: the steps required to create a composite design manufacturable using AFP are discussed. Special attention is given to process planning, functions and strategies for both process and toolpath optimization (different layup strategies, coverage/propagation strategies, starting point optimization). (2) Manufacturing: manufacturing flowcharts and the best practices to undergo an AFP project are discussed. (3) Inspection: methods and techniques currently used in the world of AFP are reviewed, as well as other future techniques (thermography, profilometry, in-situ inspections, and automated defect identification). (4) Current and upcoming areas of research: an overview of the directions current research is focusing on for advancements in AFP such as high throughput AFP, AFP process modeling, machine learning in inspection and defect detection, data-driven AFP models, etc. Attendees are required to watch the introductory course via NASA’s YouTube channel on the following link:

Pultrusion: Technology, Commercialization, and Industrialization

Instructor - Clement Hiel, Composites Support & Solutions, Inc. Moderator: Alma Saiya The main objective of this presentation is to review three generations of pultrusion technology development and its associated economic impact. The first generation (the first thirty years) started in 1954, when W. B. Goldsworthy, one of the pioneers of pultrusion technology, presented a detailed description of the automated production process and plant engineering principles to professional circles in the USA. His approach was largely employed to make polyester resin based profiles for fishing rods, ski poles, hammer handles, poles for vaulting, etc. In parallel to this, Ernst Kühne also developed the pultrusion method in the early-mid 1950‘s at the technological development laboratory of Brown Boveri in Baden (Switzerland). He succeeded in producing the first pultrusion products in which the fibers were impregnated with epoxy resin. Entrepreneurs in the U.S., Asia, and Europe, capitalized on this knowledge and pultrusion with thermoset resins became a major industry. The second generation (the second thirty years) started in 1984, when major composite industry initiatives emerged in aircraft, space, and automotive. It was a time when NASA, and other technology developers, acquired pultrusion machines and performed some of the first studies on the pultrusion of thermoplastic composites. A family of second generation thermoset resins were specifically developed for the pultrusion process, and computer assisted pultrusion process automation became a reality. The pultrusion industry matured and its product output ranged from floor beams for aircraft, to infrastructure and construction (i.e. pultruded bridge decks), and spars for wind turbine blades. The third generation (the third thirty years) started in 2014, and has already provided a wealth of newly developed technologies and product innovations, such as 3D printed tooling, curved pultrusion, push-pultrusion for recycling, A.I., and novel thermoset and thermoplastic resins for pultrusion. This creates economic opportunities as the global composites industry continues to industrialize and require larger and larger production volumes. Emerging pathways to industrialization are, among others, the trillion dollar worldwide infrastructure projects, climate resilience, and “Green New Deals,” which have service life requirements of 100 years and more. In summary; what the attendees will walk away with is an appreciation for three generations of technology development that form the backbone of the global pultrusion industry. Most importantly, the attendees will acquire an appreciation for the emerging possibilities and economic opportunities of the emerging third generation pultrusion technology.


Non-Destructive Evaluation (NDE) Integration Into Modern Aerospace Manufacturing

Instructor: David Forsyth, TRI Austin Moderator: Susan Ruth Nondestructive evaluation (NDE) is a requirement for many components in aerospace manufacturing. Although NDE is often performed with advanced robotics and arrays of sensors and complex digital signal paths, it is often not well integrated into the “digital thread” of modern aerospace manufacturing. In this short course, we will present examples of tools and processes that can enhance the value of NDE in your manufacturing organization. These examples touch the development, validation, and execution of NDE and can reduce the cost and cycle time. Attendees will learn how to (1) specify NDE requirements at the design phase to facilitate integration into the digital thread, (2) reduce the cost of validation requirements for regulatory approvals, and (3) integrate manufacturing metadata and NDE to provide efficiency in inspection interpretation and direct digital outputs.

Thermoplastic Composites: Opportunities and Challenges

Instructor: David Leach, ATC Manufacturing Continuous fiber reinforced thermoplastic composites have become established in small to medium sized aerospace components. A major driver for this adoption is the cost benefit of thermoplastic composite fabrication compared to thermoset composite due to the short cycle times and automation that can be achieved with thermoplastics. Many future applications require high volume composites manufacturing, such as next generation commercial aircraft, advanced air mobility, unmanned aircraft and other light weight / high-performance applications such as in electric vehicles. This is driving a separate need for high-rate fabrication. Thermoplastic composites can be fabricated at short cycle times but there are some challenges including management of the flow processes and non-isothermal processing. The fabrication processes must ensure the ply orientations and fiber deformations are predictable and controlled. The viscosities of thermoplastic polymers are much higher than thermosets and therefore the thermoplastic polymers cause the fibers and plies to move with the polymer during forming rather than the resin percolating through the fiber bed with thermoset composites. Thermoplastics may be heated and cooled very quickly as the polymers experience only physical changes and not chemical reactions. However thermal processes must be controlled and many properties such as viscosity, crystallization and coefficients of expansion are dependent on temperature and rate. Semi-crystalline polymers are preferred for high performance applications, but it is necessary to ensure that the appropriate levels of crystallinity are achieved in the final part. Underpinning high-rate and cost-effective fabrication is a design for manufacturing approach to ensure that the fabrication processes are considered during the part design. The application and control of process conditions will be discussed in the context of two high-rate thermoplastic composite processes – continuous compression molding and stamp forming. Examples from our experience of optimizing processing and fabrication conditions will be presented including fabric and tape materials with complex forming and variable thickness. Future trends in automation and assembly will also be discussed.


Development, Validation, and Growth of Large Format Additive Manufacturing for Tooling Applications

Instructor: Zach Skelton, Airtech Advanced Materials Group The evolution of the aerospace industry in the past decade has increased the amount of quick turn, low production programs, with aggressive lead times. This growth has been largely in the privatization of the space industry, but more recently, the Urban Air Mobility (UAM) market. In parallel to these changes, Large Scale Additive Manufacturing is quickly coming of age with the refinement of better machines and better materials that are capable of meeting the demand for aerospace tooling applications. Traditional tooling methods used in aerospace can be costly and time consuming which slows the rapid development that is being required in the industry. Tools that traditionally take 8-12 weeks can be built with additive manufacturing in as little as 3-4 weeks, which includes design, and any finishing work. With this rapid increase in possible throughput, layup molds and subsequent tools like trim tools or holding fixtures may be produced in less time than a traditional layup mold alone. Airtech Advanced Materials Group has been extensively testing and validating their materials in use, showing that the materials are more than capable of meeting the demand for production tooling. LFAM tools printed with our Dahltram resin systems can not only achieve high accuracy, vacuum integrity, and rigors of production use, but can also hold up under extended use in the autoclave. Airtech is also developing out of the autoclave (OoA) solutions, Heat-Tech, with integrally heated tools that can both be used in the oven or out of the oven. These OoA tooling solutions allow the industry to still utilize the speed of LFAM and helps keep capital investments down. A further benefit of the Dahltram resin systems is their ease of recyclability. Thermoplastic based tooling solutions can easily be recycled once a tool has reached its end of life. This drastically reduces the carbon footprint of the aerospace industry, helping manufactures meet key future goals.

Market Overview of eVTOL and Urban/Advance Air Mobility (UAM/ AAM)

Instructor: Johnny T. Doo (Leviation Technology, Inc. / IVR / NASA TVF-WG) eVTOL vehicles are the mainstream platform for the rapidly developing Advanced Air Mobility (AAM) and Urban Air Mobility (UAM) market. New technology development, certification, infrastructure, and public acceptance are some of the challenges. The low acquisition and operating costs of the vehicles are the keys to business success and industry growth. AAM/UAM market includes many potential applications, from air-taxi, regional air transport, cargo shipment to public service operations. The diverse use-cases drive different vehicle and system functions and configurations, and therefore varying innovations and advancements. In conjunction with air space management and infrastructure development, key technologies, including manufacturing, autonomous systems, battery/charging, and electrical systems, are progressing to enable the platform and system capabilities. Composite is one of the most promising materials that provide the structural performance and lightweight characteristics needed for a favorable eVTOL vehicle design. The matured autoclave manufacturing process in the aerospace industry will be used in selected parts. However, the out-of-autoclave process may be chosen in many applications based on the cost-performance ratio. Other than thermoset composites, the advancement of thermoplastic composites is promising for the high rate of production envisioned for the eVTOL industry. The man-tech development should be innovative to support the cost-effective high-volume production needs for the AAM/UAM industry with low initial investments. The additive manufacturing (AM) process can be instrumental in rapid prototyping and help reduce tooling lead time. Producibility is fundamental to meet the advancing pace of vehicle development, low to high-rate production, and life-cycle derivatives. All the production composite and AM materials and processes will need to be qualified and approved by FAA/EASA. Of course, the eVTOL vehicles will need to be manufactured under an approved quality system to conform to the Type Certification (TC) specifications and meet the Production Certification (PC) requirements.