Worldwide there is a steadily increasing demand for components made of fibre-reinforced plastic composites (FRP) to be used for the manufacturing of a broad range of industrial goods. Tubular structures such as reverse osmosis vessels for seawater desalination, pipes for on- and offshore oil and gas pipelines, or high-pressure vessels, representing a total global market value of several billon € per year, constitute a major share of FRP components.
This major share is also driven by the need of the reduction of dependencies to energy imports by the European countries especially during political crises. Current FRP production technologies cannot fulfil this demand, are harmful to the environment and cannot react fast enough to quick market changes.
Thus, ambliFibre aimed at fulfilling this demand by improving the diode laser-assisted tape winding process, systems and assisting software solutions to enable an efficient and flexible production for such advanced tubular composite products out of thermoplastic unidirectional (UD) fibre-reinforced pre-impregnated raw stock material, also called prepreg or tape. For achievement of this goal, the ambliFibre objectives were the following:
- Development of a laser-assisted machine control with integrated process data mining algorithms and easy-to-use programming software (Human-Machine-Interface HMI)
- Building-up an integral process and machine simulation model for laser-assisted tape winding
- Provide the inline monitoring solution for quality assurance directly after the consolidation process
- Development of an active optics for dynamic redistribution of laser irradiation at the process area controlled using the input of a novel infrared (IR) camera and the simulation model results
- Development and demonstration of a flexible machine concept which can produce continuously as well as discontinuously
- Development of reliability and maintenance (R&M) models for the laser-assisted tape winding machine and evaluation of life cycle cost (LCC) of this system
- Evaluation of the environmental impact of the ambliFibre materials, processes and components
- Demonstration and validation of the model-based controlled ambliFibre system technology
The multinational consortium, consisting of partners from industry and science, collaborated and achieved all intended objectives within the project runtime of three years. All components were integrated in a prototype system and digital concepts of industrial-ready production systems.
This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 678875.
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