Intelligent braiding cell: Automated programming of braiding systems
Intelligent braiding cell 4.0: With the help of a knowlage database, the wished braids are automatically made into finished program codes, machine sequences and work steps are defined and an analysis of manufacturing feasibility is carried out. Preform tests and manual robot programming are no longer necessary.
Composite components consist of specifically arranged fibers and a matrix material in which these are embedded. In order to optimally harmonize fiber orientation and the shape of the component, very often braids are used in the preforming process. The production of a braid is a complex process in terms of sequences and thread guide, thus such braiding processes are carried out with the help of industrial robots. However, the path from design (CAD model) on a PC to the finished braid is a long way. Not only the programming of machine and robot require in-depth expertise and experience, the implementation of new designs is often associated with complex and time-consuming processes in order to set up and optimize the braiding system.
Today, industrial braiding processes are profiting from utilities, like offline programming of robots. Also braids have been designed on the screen for a long time. However, until now there has been no intelligent connection of CAD data, including the desired fiber architecture, with an automated creation of the program code for the braiding system, which results in the desired fiber orientation. Moreover, design feasibility and its adjustment to the machine’s characteristics is still dependent on the experience of individual employees and, when in doubt, is accomplished using a time-consuming trial and error process. This very much complicates the transition to batch production or the use in small series.
A procedure developed at the University of Stuttgart will allow a fully automated implementation of a CAD design into a braiding process including feasibility assessment and design optimization. Data consistency can be guaranteed for both existing and new systems by upgrading with sensor technology and control units. In this way, conventional braiding machines are turned into an intelligent production system in the style of Industry 4.0. The basis is formed by a database which is fed with existing expert knowledge. It compares this information with process parameters and thus defines completed program codes, machine processes and working steps from a desired fiber pattern. Algorithm and control device revolutionize braiding technology for composite components and at the same time set the 4.0 standards for the industry.
- Adaptive production system
- Intelligent, adjustable knowledge database No manual teaching of robots
- Preform test no longer necessary
- 4.0 compatible
- Existing systems can be retrofitted
Fields of application
Automated design and programming of braids for the manufacturing of composite structures.