The Automation of Polymer Composites Manufacturing
The intention in this work is to provide an overview of the state of automation in reinforcement based polymer matrix composite manufacturing processes today, knowing that there is currently a huge amount of research and process development work underway. This is being driven to a large degree by the needs of the aerospace, wind blade and automotive industries whose interest in benefits of using composites has risen dramatically in the last five years.
The focus in this work has been specifically on the composite moulding processes and how they can be helped to more productive and competitive. Other secondary processes either before or after the moulding are briefly described.
Automation is a very broad field which has many elements ranging from the hardware, the software and overall integration of process steps. A brief overview of the key elements of automation is included in order to see the range of tools and capabilities from which composites manufacturing can chose.
An overview and characterisation of the main automated composites manufacturing processes forms the central core of this work. It will be followed by a review of several automated processes in various phases of development and roll out.
A listing of leading suppliers in all areas related to composites automation is included at the end of the work.
The purpose here has been to provide and introductory overview into the ingenious, cost effective and growing way in which automation is ever more successfully penetrating composites manufacturing.
100 pages - hard copy only
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