Manufacturing methods: Partnership uses metrology to increase production of right-first-time composite parts

Metrology assisted production process integrates Nikon Metrology Laser Radar into Magestic Systems Inc.'s PCS manufacturing system to improve composite part production quality and throughput.

12/17/2009


Despite their generally high cost, composite materials have gained popularity in high-performance products that need to be lightweight but strong enough to take harsh loading conditions, including turbine blades, storage tanks, aviation components (tails, wings, fuselages, propellers), boat hulls, race car bodies, and even baseball bats.

With traditional methods of serial production of composite parts, a variety of factors often prevent manufacturers from keeping geometric deviation within specification. These include the nature of combined composites' substrate, resin, and reinforcement materials, or even the method by which the parts are molded. Low process repeatability generates lengthy manual rework and failed components that end up on the scrap pile.

MSI Trunest1 nest sample

MSI Trunest2 nest sample

MSI's TruNEST I is the first level of a powerful nest management program for cutting applications that require a rectangular layout.

 

TruNEST II, designed to provide integration between manufacturing and the front office, nests the actual shape of complex parts, creates tool paths, and optimizes cutting sequences automatically.

 

MSI Trunest3 nest sample

MSI Trunest4 nest sample

TruNEST III will nest complex parts on material of any shape, so irregular shaped remnants that were once thrown away can be nested.

 

TruNEST IV combines state of the art scanning technology with advanced true shape nesting algorithms.

 

Nikon Metrology and Magestic Systems, Inc. (MSI) jointly introduce a fabrication solution for increasing production of right-first-time composite parts. Combining the benefits of Nikon Metrology's Laser Radar technology and MSI's Ply Compensation System (PCS), the methodology lets manufacturers put in place an automated metrology assisted production process that delivers parts of predictable quality, while reducing scrap and maintaining accuracy, scalability, and ease of use.

The benefits of the process are said to be two-fold: First, manufacturers can overcome the difficult engineering specifications set in place for composite parts; second, they can achieve success with minimal waste.

"As a full-scale enterprise solution, Magestic Systems' Ply Compensation System provides a unique alternative to the current machining process for composite part fabrication," says Mike Weber, Magestic Systems' vice president of operations and business development. "PCS takes parts that have been produced slightly outside of engineering tolerances, and builds them up by single or multiple composite compensation ply layers into finished parts that satisfy all structural and engineering requirements-the first time through the production process."

Nikon Metrology's Laser Radar system captures composites' nominal geometry deviation, identifying those surface areas on composite parts that need compensation ply treatment. "Within a range of 60m, the contactless Laser Radar system from Nikon Metrology captures the surface geometry of composite parts of any shape and size, without requiring SMR or other targets", explains Francky Demeester, Nikon Metrology vice president of business development for large-scale metrology. "The Laser Radar is fully automatable and programmable, and measures nominal deviation very accurately, both in plane and surface vector intersection modes (PVI and SVI)." PVI measurements have shown an order of magnitude improvement in measurement accuracy over other single-point measurement systems, in particular on composite materials, he says.

Based on the Laser Radar's geometry data and the resulting nominal deviation of the tool surface, MSI's Ply CompensationTMSystem manages the definition and creation of multi-layer compensation plies. After processing this critical step, MSI's TruNEST builds nests of the necessary compensation plies and automatically cuts them out to be laid up. TruLASER View kits the compensation plies while still on the cutting table, and projects the exact location of where on the deficient part they need to be placed, keeping all grain constraints in mind. Following this, the part is then ready to be re-cured to obtain final geometry.

The finished composite part is then measured again with Laser Radar for geometry deviation. By producing composite parts correctly the first time, immediate savings can be noted in the minimization of waste and the maximization of accuracy, part quality, and process efficiency.

www.nikonmetrology.com
www.magestic.com

- Edited by Renee M. Robbins, managing editor, MBT www.mbtmag.com

 





No comments
The Top Plant program honors outstanding manufacturing facilities in North America. View the 2013 Top Plant.
The Product of the Year program recognizes products newly released in the manufacturing industries.
The Leaders Under 40 program features outstanding young people who are making a difference in manufacturing. View the 2013 Leaders here.
The new control room: It's got all the bells and whistles - and alarms, too; Remote maintenance; Specifying VFDs
2014 forecast issue: To serve and to manufacture - Veterans will bring skill and discipline to the plant floor if we can find a way to get them there.
2013 Top Plant: Lincoln Electric Company, Cleveland, Ohio
Case Study Database

Case Study Database

Get more exposure for your case study by uploading it to the Plant Engineering case study database, where end-users can identify relevant solutions and explore what the experts are doing to effectively implement a variety of technology and productivity related projects.

These case studies provide examples of how knowledgeable solution providers have used technology, processes and people to create effective and successful implementations in real-world situations. Case studies can be completed by filling out a simple online form where you can outline the project title, abstract, and full story in 1500 words or less; upload photos, videos and a logo.

Click here to visit the Case Study Database and upload your case study.

Bring focus to PLC programming: 5 things to avoid in putting your system together; Managing the DCS upgrade; PLM upgrade: a step-by-step approach
Balancing the bagging triangle; PID tuning improves process efficiency; Standardizing control room HMIs
Commissioning electrical systems in mission critical facilities; Anticipating the Smart Grid; Mitigating arc flash hazards in medium-voltage switchgear; Comparing generator sizing software

Annual Salary Survey

Participate in the 2013 Salary Survey

In a year when manufacturing continued to lead the economic rebound, it makes sense that plant manager bonuses rebounded. Plant Engineering’s annual Salary Survey shows both wages and bonuses rose in 2012 after a retreat the year before.

Average salary across all job titles for plant floor management rose 3.5% to $95,446, and bonus compensation jumped to $15,162, a 4.2% increase from the 2010 level and double the 2011 total, which showed a sharp drop in bonus.

2012 Salary Survey Analysis

2012 Salary Survey Results

Maintenance and reliability tips and best practices from the maintenance and reliability coaches at Allied Reliability Group.
The One Voice for Manufacturing blog reports on federal public policy issues impacting the manufacturing sector. One Voice is a joint effort by the National Tooling and Machining...
The Society for Maintenance and Reliability Professionals an organization devoted...
Join this ongoing discussion of machine guarding topics, including solutions assessments, regulatory compliance, gap analysis...
IMS Research, recently acquired by IHS Inc., is a leading independent supplier of market research and consultancy to the global electronics industry.
Maintenance is not optional in manufacturing. It’s a profit center, driving productivity and uptime while reducing overall repair costs.
The Lachance on CMMS blog is about current maintenance topics. Blogger Paul Lachance is president and chief technology officer for Smartware Group.