3rd Place DLR Space Administration Challenge
Flow Front Detection with Fibre-Optic Sensors in the Rotating Infusion Process for CFRP (carbon-fiber-reinforced polymer) Components
In the boosters of the Ariane-6 launch vehicle MT Aerospace AG of Augsburg, Germany, is producing some of the space industry‘s largest CFRP components. Measuring around 12 metres long and 3.4 metres in diameter, these parts are manufactured using a vacuum infusion process in which dry carbon fibres are wound around a form and then submerged in resin. Intelligent sensors are needed to monitor the flow front of the resin as it is introduced and optimise the overall process. For this purpose, MT Aerospace AG is now working with Fraunhofer LBF on incorporating glass fibre sensors into its components during the winding phase. During infusion, each component has to be turned slowly in an oven. This delicate step is where the sensors monitor the distribution of the resin.
- Digitalised manufacturing optimises the process while reducing costs
- Visualisation of previously hidden processes and corresponding digital controls provide for increased process stability
- Information gained from sensors makes it possible to automate the flow of resin and ensure quality and repeatability
- Process data also improves control and accelerates ramp-up to serial production, which makes the company more competitive