After the collection of initial system and demonstrator specifications based on industrial requirements, a modular concept was pursued throughout the ambliFibre project.
Production experiments were systematically conducted and accompanied by mechanical testing of the manufactured components for generating process and quality data. This data pool formed the basis for the creation of a relational database and data-mining engine. The corresponding algorithms were continuously modified and trained to obtain the best results for offline process optimisation.
The development of dedicated simulation models was separated into a local model for online application and feedback with short computational times and a global model for offline process evaluation. The local model implemented a physics-based model integrating optical and thermal process phenomena. It simulates the laser intensity distribution via a ray-tracing approach and subsequently calculates the ensuing temperature distribution. For global modelling, multiple kinematic-optical-thermal models were developed capable of predicting the through-thickness temperature field during various winding operations. The creation of the simulation models accounted for various process parameters and variables including reflectance, geometry changes and material crystallinity.
The quality monitoring approach of the project consisted of the detection and evaluation of standardised embossments within the composite tape material. For the purpose of embossing the tapes, an Ultrasonic Hot Embossing process was developed and automated. A thermographic camera was placed directly behind the nip point, where incoming tape and previously wound substrate are consolidated. By assessing the cooling behaviour of the material, a machine-learning algorithm was trained to detect the embossed features and determine the level of consolidation based on their state.
New optical components developed within ambliFibre include an adaptive laser optics and a high-speed infrared thermographic camera. The laser optics features a new concept for the combined zoom and shaping of the laser spot, so that a gradient is introduced to the intensity distribution. The camera is used to capture the temperature distribution during the process in real-time with frequencies up to 1000 Hz. Both components were designed, constructed and calibrated within the project and integrated in the ambliFibre prototype system. The novel HMI was utilised to incorporate all data feeds, including the thermographic images by the IR camera, the simulation model and data-mining results and the quality feedback by the monitoring device.