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Online Monitoring System Detects Milling Damage to Carbon Fibre Structures

Parth Rawal, a scientist at the Fraunhofer Institute for Manufacturing Technology and Applied Materials (IFAM), Stade, Germany, has been presented with the MT Aerospace Innovation Award for his master thesis Sensor Based Online Monitoring System for Detection of Milling Defects on CFRP Structures.

The award ceremony took place on 4 September 2018 during the annual conference of the German Aerospace Society (DGLR) in Friedrichshafen, where Rawal, former master student at the Technical University of Hamburg’s Institute for Production Management and Technology (IPMT), presented his thesis.

In the presence of some 400 leading representatives from the aerospace industry and research, 18 doctoral candidates and students were honoured for their work in various areas of the aerospace industry during the opening ceremony. Based on the annual number of graduates, they make up 1% and represent the future elite of the aerospace industry.

The emergence of edge damage by encapsulated large-scale aircraft machinery in the milling of large components made of carbon fibre reinforced plastics (CFRP) is currently difficult to see. If such damage – caused by tool wear, for example – is detected too late, expensive reworking of the extremely expensive CFRP large components is required. In the extreme case, the component must be discarded, causing considerable financial damage, but also corresponding loss of time.

Under the direction of Prof. Dr.-Ing. Wolfgang Hintze, Institute for Production Management and Technology (IPMT) of the Hamburg University of Technology, Rawal developed a sensor-based online quality monitoring system for the optical detection of such edge damage.

The system uses a laser triangulation line sensor mounted directly behind the milling spindle to detect not only fibre overhangs but also high-resolution edge delaminations. Because both the recording and the automated evaluation of the measured values are carried out in real time using various algorithms, the method is ideal for tracking the parameters of the milling process and interrupting the process in extreme cases before the component becomes too worn.

Rawal realised the prototype construction and the successful testing of the system in an application-oriented production environment in close cooperation with Fraunhofer IFAM’s Automation and Production Technology department at the CFK NORD Research Centre in Stade.

Companies: Fraunhofer-Institut für Fertigungstechnik und Angewandte Materialforschung IFAM

Industries: Aerospace

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