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Real Time AFP Inspection with Single Head-Mounted Sensor

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Real Time AFP Inspection with Single Head-Mounted Sensor


It is widely recognized that manual inspection of AFP ply layups is time consuming, inefficient, prone to error and is a bottleneck for AFP productivity. Several industry efforts are underway to automate ply inspection (API) for AFP. Earlier efforts focused on replacing the human eye with sensors to perform inspection faster and more reliably. However, in earlier efforts ply inspection was still performed in series with ply layup as a secondary, serial operation (i.e. the AFP machine is idle during inspection, as with manual inspection).  To address this limitation, current efforts are directed towards automating ply inspection in real time, in parallel with layup, to completely eliminate the considerable cycle time devoted to ply inspection today. Several types of flaws are generated during AFP layup and an automated inspection scheme must detect these flaws within proscribed tolerances to be effective. Some API efforts use multiple sensor types, with each sensor optimized to detect specific flaw types. By contrast, Real Time API (RTAPI) under development for the Defense Department uses a single sensor to measure the as-made layup and detect, identify and quantify layup flaws present. The sensor is small and compact, which allows it to be mounted directly on the AFP head. Compared with alternative approaches, this eliminates the need for a separate robot or gantry to scan the layup in concert with the layup gantry, which can add significant complexity, cost and line of sight limitations for the API system. This paper describes the RTAPI program, hardware and software approach and initial results achieved to date.


Authors: David Maass


Conference: CAMX 2016 – Anaheim


SKU/Code: TP16-0092


Pages: 16

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