Table of Contents Table of Contents
Previous Page  10 / 78 Next Page
Show Menu
Previous Page 10 / 78 Next Page
Page Background

A D V A N C E D M A T E R I A L S & P R O C E S S E S | J A N U A R Y 2 0 1 6

1 0




The Defense Logistics Agency

(DLA) awarded a contract to Flightware

Inc., Guilford, Conn., to develop a real-

time, automated inspection system for

use with Automated Fiber Placement

(AFP) equipment that makes large

composite parts. The capability allows

these machines to operate signifi-

cantly faster, enabling cost savings and

increased production. Most large and

high-rate composite aircraft structures

are built using AFP machines. While

these machines quickly place material

into a mold, the operation is stopped

after every ply to allow human inspec-

tors to validate the machine layup. This

is repeated dozens to hundreds of times

for a single part. In many cases, the

time to inspect the layup by teams of

workers with flashlights is longer than

the machine layup time. As a result,

machines are only productive less than

30% of the time.

Flightware’s Real Time Automated

Ply Inspection (RTAPI) program builds

AFP layup flaws are displayed against the programmed layup, color-coded by

feature type for rapid disposition and rework. Courtesy of Flightware.

studying how stress and fatigue cause

microscopic damage to form in metal

components. That knowledge will then

be translated into new tools to detect

and monitor crack formation in aircraft

components. Funding comes from the

U.S. Army Research Office through the

Defense University Research Instru-

mentation Program (DURIP).

The team will conduct testing and

characterization studies to understand

andmonitor how tiny cracks are initiated

and then grow in metal components as

they are subjected to cyclic strains and

stresses similar to those that wings, fuse-

lages, and other aircraft components

experience in service. Using a new imag-

ing system, researchers are able to view

the initiation and propagation of cracks

at the nanometer scale while metal

samples are stressed in a servo-hydrau-

lic testing machine. As a result of this

research, the team aims to develop new

lightweight metal alloys that are more

resistant to cracking.


on work previously performed under

a development contract with NASA.

Using commercial sensors and custom

software, AFP layups are scanned and

compared with programmed instruc-

tions created from the part model.

Deviations in excess of allowed toler-

ances are automatically detected and

presented to operators for repair.

The first generation Automated

Ply Inspection (API) system consists

of hardware and software designed to

operate in a secondary inspection step

after layup, mimicking today’s human

inspection process. Under the DLA pro-

gram, API is being modified to work in

real time, in parallel with layup being

produced by the AFP machine in real

time. The new system eliminates the

serial inspection step, enabling cost

savings on a wide variety of military and

civilian aircraft parts.




A research team at Worcester

Polytechnic Institute (WPI), Mass., is


LECO Corp.,

St. Joseph, Mich., recently opened its European Appli-

cation and Technology Center in Berlin. The facility is equipped with

the latest LECO analytical technology, with nearly 25 instruments

available for customer demonstrations and application work. The

facility also features lecture rooms for training employees and cus-



Professor Diana Lados (right) and Ph.D.

candidate Anthony Spangenberger an-

alyze deformation results from a fatigue

damage evaluation test performed on

an aircraft aluminum alloy.