Concurrent Conference Sessions

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Automated Lamination I
9:30 AM-11:30 AM


9:30 AM-10:00 AM
AFP Technology Milestones
Michael Muser, Director Composites, Ingersoll Machine Tools

The presentation is about the development of AFP technology over the years. Productivity of equipment has increased exponentially, and so has part range. However, there are still many machines around from previous generations. The differences between all generations will be presented, as well as potential for modernization, and some outlook on future equipment.

10:00 AM-10:30 AM
Automation Doesn't Have to be All or Nothing - An Example of a Stepwise Approach
Mike Smoot, VP Sales & Marketing, Accudyne Systems, Inc.

Some believe that in order to benefit from automation it is necessary to convert their manual operation to a fully automated system, one in which there is little to no human interaction with the process. Similarly, some view a stepwise approach as inefficient and much less cost effective than a full blown automation conversion of a manufacturing process. This paper will present results from an automation study and development program that demonstrates significant benefits and value from a stepwise approach. The specific process involves a labor intensive, hand lay-up construction of a very thick, complex geometry laminate used in a military rotorcraft. The paper will present results of the automation study, equipment used for the process, demonstration of the automation sequence, benefits of the stepwise approach and the future plans for fully automating the process.

10:30 AM-11:00 AM
Technologies for Improving Productivity & Delivering Repeatable Accuracy of Automated Composite Parts
James Hecht, Director, Fives Cincinnati

11:00 AM-11:30 AM
Automated Multi-Tape Layer Technology: A Step Forward in Automated Composites Lamination
Javier Raya, Sales Director, MTorres America

Most aircraft part manufacturers using Automated Tape Layer (ATL) machines have faced the dilemma of whether to use wider tape material in order to maximize the productivity or narrower material in order to minimize the amount of scrap material and meet the steering needs in certain areas of the part. The Automated Multi-Tape Layer (AMTL) technology developed by MTorres has addressed this dilemma by offering a solution that gives both the benefits of using narrower tape material and the productivity of using wider material. Additionally, this innovative solution in combination with the unique navigation control software can be used to get the most usage of the material rolls and to minimize the material waste because of the tape splices.

Automotive Composite Applications
9:30 AM-11:30 AM


9:30 AM-10:00 AM
Plasma Treatment of SMC to Improve Adhesive Bonding: Lab to Production
Dan Houston, Technical Specialist, Ford Motor Company

The presentation will briefly discuss the laboratory development of Plasma for improving adhesive bonding of SMC to SMC. The main focus of the presentation will feature the actions required to take a current technology developed in the laboratory and follow it through the steps required for full scale production. By the end of the presentation, the audience will have had a chance to gain an understanding of what was required to bring the SMC bonding plasma technology completely into production for a current automotive component produced today.

10:00 AM-10:30 AM
Applying RapidClave Accelerated Cure for Mid-volume Automotive Production to Aerospace Materials & Applications
Ron Jacobsen, Vice President, and Jim Martin, Composite & Process Business Development, Globe Machining Group

  • Lessons learned in advanced composite automotive production translate to aerospace and other market sectors
  • Composite material cure parameters defined for the autoclave may not be representative of a faster, more precisely controlled cure process
  • Replacing a bottleneck batch process enables quality improvement and further factory automation
  • Latest developments and material and process data will be presented

10:30 AM-11:00 AM
Simulating 3D Forming of Complex Shapes with Continuous Fiber Materials and the Optimization of Automated Layup Technologies
Daniel Allman, Director of Business Development, Fives Machining Group

As the global automotive OEM and tiered supplier community seek solutions to lightweight vehicle systems and components, advanced composites continue to be viewed as capable of supporting specialty or niche market build volumes. While significant achievements have recently been realized in materials, conversion processes and manufacturing cycle efficiency for advanced composites, the automotive OEMs and part supplier community continue to seek enabling technologies to that can demonstrate a rapid, repeatable and cost affective part manufacturing process. Even with recent advancements in layup and conversion technologies, the long cycle times, labor content and overall manufacturing costs of continuous fiber technology will be a barrier to realizing high volume applications. This presentation will provide an overview of a recently developed process simulation model that can accurately predict the conversion of a 2D multi ply/orientation prepreg material charge into a 3D shape. Forming of complex shapes with continuous fiber technology can be optimized through proper application of this innovative predictive design aid and. We will review how interpreting the model data can drive process engineering/programming of an automated layup process(s) to produce a 2D charge that can be formed into parts with design complexities beyond what traditional advanced composites process knowledge suggests is reasonable. Automated Layup technology such as Tape Laying and Fiber Placement process can be optimized based on model data interpretation thus ensuring a rapid and repeatable material charge preparation and of equal importance a repeatable forming process.

11:00 AM-11:30 AM
Strength Optimization of Full Saturation Oriented Fiber Reinforced Polymers for Ultra Lightweight Lamination Applications
Christopher Griffen, PhD, Technical Director, Great Lakes Composite Institute

  • Compare their FRP material/application to the performance of this process and decide whether this alternative method would improve their product
  • Conduct studies on their material/product applications that use some of the process factors used for optimization within this presentation
  • Increase their areas of application knowing that this process could achieve previously unreachable performance targets

Fiber reinforced polymers can be manufactured in various random or aligned orientations to form a matrix/binder system with improved physical properties for structural components and systems. The degree of integrated material structural integrity is dependent on the fiber to polymer adhesion characteristics, binding polymer cohesive strength, minimization of matrix flaws, maximum surface area saturation and fiber/polymer ratios that provide optimal strength to weight ratios. A new technical process approach in addressing all of these factors is discussed for several fiber and thermoplastic resin formulations along with comparative physical property verification tests. Three automotive exterior components using this FRP process for lamination panels are then described that achieve maximum strength and optimal stiffness to mass ratios.

Out-of-Autoclave
9:30 AM-11:30 AM


9:30 AM-10:00 AM
Minimizing Surface Porosity in Vacuum Bag Only Prepreg Processing
Doug Decker, Tech Fellow, Northrop Grumman, and Lee Hamill, University of Southern California

Surface porosity, also known as pinhole porosity or pitting, is a type of defect that often occurs on the tool-side surface of composite laminates produced from out-of-autoclave (OOA) or vacuum-bag-only (VBO) prepregs. The current methods of correcting this problem require surfacing films prior to cure and/or rework after cure. Both solutions are both costly in time and weight. A systematic investigation of the factors causing surface porosity in VBO composite laminates has identified both probable root causes and potential cost and weight-effective solutions that significantly influence the surface quality of laminates. Multiple processing adjustments are investigated, including RT vacuum hold time, tool roughness (Ra), tooling material, moisture content, and surface release methods among other variables.

10:00 AM-10:30 AM
Porosity-Free Molded Surfaces for Out-of-Autoclave Composites
Mikhail Grigoriev, Sr. Process Engineer, Aerospace Materials Processing

  • Causality of Out-of-Autoclave surface porosity
  • Surface treatment for tools used with Out-of-Autoclave composites
  • Process for obtaining a desired pit free composite surface
  • Tailoring process to match necessary future needs to manufacture OOA composites

The challenges presented with large scale usable composite structures are quickly being solved with the development of out-of-autoclave (OOA) technology. Structures well over 15 ft. now bypass the autoclave thanks to years of research by material suppliers who have been modifying their prepreg systems to match high performance of structures previously manufactured in the autoclaves. However, the problem of tool surface imperfections – surface pitting – has not been adequately addressed. Surface pitting on flat tooling has been eliminated with the help of polytetrafluoroethylene film, but the non-stick ply does not conform well to contoured surfaces making it unpractical for most aircraft applications. Some developments have been established but with them come significant increases in material and labor costs. An innovative approach to solve surface pitting issues by creating microstructures on the tool surfaces will be presented. A new method is under investigation which in turn will create similar structures directly on tool surface and thus achieve same porosity-free surface finish as woven release but without wrinkles, on contoured parts, and at a fraction of the cost. This research is focused on physical properties of the micro-structures such as their size, shape, spacing and material properties. To test the micro-structure designs 6” x 6” panels made of 5320-1/T650 fabric will be processed and quantitative evaluated for surface porosity presence.

10:30 AM-11:00 AM
Single Sided v Matched Processing of Out-of-Autoclave Composites
Ben Halford, CEO, Surface Generation

  • Accurately assess existing Autoclave solutions
  • Map out the relative benefits of Out-of-Autoclave processing strategies
  • Determine the optimum starting conditions required for successful processing of thermoplastic and thermoset materials

Energy efficiency and aesthetics continue to drive OEM’s to deliver lighter more compact products to their customers. With 50% plus weight savings compared to metallic equivalents, composites are being pressganged into use. In order to facilitate the rapid adoption of fiber reinforced materials into these everyday applications significant changes must be made to eliminate waste, reduce labor and enhance scalability. Central to this is the elimination of batch Autoclave centric processing operations and the move towards net shape and net quality processes. These Out-of-Autoclave based solutions, such as Surface Generations PtFS process, owe more to traditional mass production techniques such as injection molding than existing aerospace solutions using sensor based real-time control to actively manage production and quality simultaneously.

11:00 AM-11:30 AM
Cost Savings Using No-Oven, No-Autoclave Processing for Composite Tooling
Brad Doudican, Ph.D., Director of Business Development, NONA Composites

  • Understand the opportunities for infusion processing with minimal capital equipment investment
  • Understand the capabilities and demonstrated performance of a self-curing resin process that requires zero external energy input
  • Understand the advantages offered by no oven, no autoclave composite processing for composite tooling

NONA Composites LLC offers a revolutionary alternative to conventional composite tooling manufacturing. NONA Composites enables the fabrication of high-performance, single-piece composite tools without the technical and financial limitations imposed by autoclaves and ovens using the no-oven, no-autoclave (NONA) composite processing technology developed by Cornerstone Research Group (CRG). Recognizing the challenges faced in the fabrication and use of composite tooling, NONA Composites has benchmarked NONA performance in maintaining vacuum integrity through cyclic thermal and mechanical loading, dimensional accuracy of both tool and finished parts, CTE compatibility, surface finish quality, and infusion process compatibility. Benchmarks against current composite tools manufactured by conventional and out-of-autoclave processes have demonstrated significant economic opportunities. NONA Composites is currently working with government and commercial composite shops in the delivery of first article demonstrations and production tools that demonstrate the technical and economic feasibility for their specific applications.

Automated Lamination II
1:30 PM-3:30 PM


1:30 PM-2:00 PM
Innovations in Composite Stiffener Automation
Vern Benson, Composites Development Engineer, ATK Aerospace Structures

2:00 PM-2:30 PM
Analysis of Driving Factors for Optimal Production Rates of Composite Parts
Robert Harper, Director, Technical Sales Aerospace, Fives Cincinnati

2:30 PM-3:00 PM
Slit Tape Prepregs Formats Which Expand the Range and Application of the AFP Process
Daniel Ott, Global Strategic Account Manager and Jim Powers, Business Development Manager, Web Industries, Inc.

As the drive to expand the range of individual tow control technology keeps growing, new or enhanced versions of slit tape prepregs need to be tested and proven to improve productivity, machine up-times and utilization, as well as the application to new products.

This presentation will describe the development and progression of current technologies and products used in large commercial programs, as well as new developments in parts that may be new to AFP processes and developing applications in thermoplastic prepreg materials looking for the same benefits as current thermoset products.

3:00 PM – 3:30 PM
Composites Automation: How Far We’ve Come …. and Where We Are Going
Carroll Grant, Aerospace Composites Consulting

Machining & Drilling
1:30 PM-3:30 PM


1:30 PM-2:00 PM
How Drill Geometry Effects Your Hole Quality
Jeff Stephens, Engineering Manager, OSG Tap & Die, Inc.

The presentation will present findings of a drilling study completed on 8 different types of composites found in today’s industry. The presentation will be divided into two parts. Part 1 will discuss general drill geometries, specifically point angle and helix and their effect on drilling composites. Part 2 will present the findings of the study completed with 6 different drill geometries and their effect on each type composite material. The findings will be presenting via pictures, graphics & video.

2:00 PM-2:30 PM
Micropeck Drilling in Composite Metallic Stacks
Linn Win, Industry Specialist--Composites, Sandvik Coromant

  • Understand impact of composite erosion in certain drilling application areas
  • Learn techniques to avoid negative impact of composite erosion in drilling
  • Understand and apply areas of optimization in composite metallic stack drilling

The key to micro-peck drilling is to simultaneously optimize cutter geometry with the correct micro-peck amplitude and frequency settings, while utilizing the appropriate spindle RPM and feed rate. Finding the optimized settings for all these variables may be quite challenging and detrimental to the life of the cutting tool if the wrong settings are applied.

2:30 PM-3:00 PM
Automated Drilling & Countersinking of Composite Titanium Material Stacks One Shot
Nick Bullen, CEO, Smart Blades Inc.

This presentation and paper will describe in detail the machine end effector physical components, algorithm including subroutines, drill set lengths, speeds and feeds necessary to drill through complex material stacks of varying thickness one shot. The presentation will provide the necessary data and information including pecking subroutines, chip removal, and drill types to successfully drill a close tolerance hole with diameters from .187 inch (4.75 mm) to .500 inch (12.7 mm) with tolerance of -.000 to +.001 inch (-.000 mm to .025 mm) through stacks of dissimilar material of up to 1.25 inch thick including complex material stacks of composite (GFE)-titanium-composite (GFE).

3:00 PM-3:30 PM
Mark Saberton, Flow Aerospace

Materials & Processing
1:30 PM-3:30 PM


1:30 PM-2:00 PM
The Environmental, Health, & Safety Impact From the Increased Use of High Strength Composite Materials for Manufactured Parts
Nick Bullen, CEO, Smart Blades Inc.

The presentation will describe the current and projected global use of high strength carbon fiber composite materials (HSCFCM) in increasingly broad product types. The presentation will identify current environmental concerns for disposal of parts manufactured using HSCFCM and present the current effort to reclaim, recycle, or remanufacture using end-of-life part materials. The presentation will also present research findings and data to identify emerging health and safety issues directly related to human exposure to the variety of materials commonly called composites. The data and information presented will be based on previous materials health affect curves using quantitative analysis linear projection to identify the impact zone on human health when manufacturing parts using HSCFCM and other composite materials.

2:00 PM-2:30 PM
Opportunities & Challenges for Carbon Fiber in the Wind Energy Industry
Stephen Johnson, Advanced Mfg. Engrg, GE Power & Water

2:30 PM-3:00 PM
Case study: Sensor Housing Conversion From Aluminum to a Continuous Fiber Reinforced Thermoplastic
Sean Reymond, Chief Technology Officer, Impact Composites

  • Have a better understanding of continuous fiber reinforced thermoplastic composites
  • Determine if continuous fiber reinforced thermoplastic composites are the right material for their application
  • Understand the benefits of continuous fiber reinforced thermoplastic composites

An advanced thermoplastic compression molding process was utilized to convert an existing metallic housing to a composite housing. The function of the housing is to protect sensitive electronics during ongoing monitoring of vehicular traffic on high-use roadways. As technology advances, so does the need for more sophisticated electronics. The primary driver to switch to composites was to allow the use of wireless and cell phone technology to transmit data from the housing. A continuous fiber molding process was used to combine fiberglass in a thermoplastic matrix (Polyphenylene sulfide - PPS) to manufacture a housing that will meet the demanding roadway environment. The details (philosophy) on why this processing method was selected over alternate molding processes and materials will be discussed.

3:00 PM-3:30 PM
Repair of Long Fiber Polymeric Composite Materials via Etching by Nanosecond Laser Induced Water Breakdown Plasma
Yung Shin, PhD, Professor, Purdue University

  • Upon completion, participants will be able to learn a new effective repair technology for fiber reinforced polymeric composites
  • Upon completion, participants will be able to see how laser induced plasma can etch only the matrix material without damaging the fibers
  • Upon completion, participants will be able to learn a new nondestructive, in-situ methodology for composite structure repair

Composite materials are widely used in industry due to its superior material properties and light weight. However, shear failure can occur at the interface between the fibers and polymer matrix when a tensile force stretches the matrix more than the fibers. Repairing the damaged composite material appears to be cost effective but still remains a challenge despite extensive research. Laser induced water breakdown plasma, which is generated by the strong interaction between nanosecond laser and water, is used in this work to etch the surface layer of a carbon fiber reinforced composite sample. It is found that the polymer layer can be effectively removed by the plasma while the carbon fiber remains almost intact. The dependence of the etching depth on the laser power density, laser focus position, and the multiple shots are also investigated in this work.