Displaying: All Days | Conference | All Conference Tracks
How to Automate Successful Manual Finishing Steps by Increasing Process Safety, Quality and Reduce Health Issues
Manual operation is still very common in the industry when it comes to material removal. Often those manufacturing steps are hated but critical steps in manufactures process flow. Just for the simple fact that they are labor-intensive, health-endangering, or repetitive work steps – such as sanding or grinding – which are demanding on the employees. Nevertheless, often those critical tasks define repeatability and quality of your products. The automation of these work steps gives you the significant competitive advantage needed in a global market. Labor shortage in general or the simple fact that there is nothing as a finishing school, propels the demand of installing robots for those 3D (dirty, dusty, dangerous) jobs. No matter which fact or multiple reasons force manufactures to automate their applications, the right path is critical.
From knowing the limitations of technologies, to defining the scope, choosing a robot, the right tool, process to which abrasive or media change to use puts companies in every size for substantial burdens. Mistakes in this process can result in high costs to a non-functional cell. In form of best practice cases, we will demonstrate those challenging robotics applications by using different robotics technologies and compare the suitability on different industry tasks. The focus will be on the applications on aerospace parts, like composite or carbon parts – small parts to complete fuselages on substrate, primer, clear coat, or paint removal as well as deburring and turbine blade operations.
Satyandra Gupta, PhD, FSME
University of Southern California - Los Angeles, CA
Surface finishing represents a large portion of manufacturing operations. Sanding is a widely used surface finishing process during manufacturing of parts made from metal and composite. Sanding is an ergonomically challenging operation. Traditionally robots are used only on mass production applications. The manual programming of robots is economically not viable in high-mix applications; therefore, sanding has remained a manual operation. The advent of human-safe robots is enabling robots to collaborate with humans on ergonomically challenging tasks and amplify human productivity. This enables robots to perform a large fraction of sanding operation and only requires humans to perform the final touch-ups. The availability of 3D vision and force sensors enables robots to operate without custom fixtures and accommodate part and fixture variability. These recent advances in robotics make it possible for robots to be used in high-mix sanding applications. This presentation will describe artificial intelligence technology to enable robotic assistants to program themselves from the high-level task descriptions and utilize sensor data to adapt the programs to deliver efficient and safe operational performance. The robotic sanding solution ensures quality consistency, increases productivity, and enables scalability in production for the manufacturers.
Lockheed Martin Aeronautics
The legacy process for wet installing Blind Fasteners on Aircraft is a complex and labor-intensive operation that requires operators to manually prepare the surface prior to installation. Proper fastener surface preparation is critical to the performance of sealants applied during installation and is a repetitive task that increases aircraft manufacturing times. The Automated Blind Fastener Program was funded by the Office of Naval Research, developed in conjunction with Advanced Technology International, and executed by Lockheed Martin Aeronautics to demonstrate the various methods of automating surface preparation processes prior to installation to reduce touch labor and increase preparation repeatability. Additionally, an automated blind fastener preparation solution enables future technology insertion for automated blind fastener installation which supports production “Just in Time” initiatives to autonomously clean, kit, and deliver fasteners to build stations throughout the factory.
This presentation will describe how contact and non-contact cleaning methodologies were evaluated and down-selected for automation in production. An in-depth look will be discussed at how the testing results were evaluated using quantitative data such as pushout and torque testing and qualitative data to examine sample failure modes. The final engineering recommendation will be described and a path forward for how Lockheed Martin Aeronautics will pursue automated blind fastener preparation and kitting.
Comparison of Additively Manufactured Printed Conductors Verses Traditional Wire Bonding in RF Circuitry
RF Senior Engineer
Under the Radar Affordability program sponsored by OSD, ACI worked on a prototype design and development of a broadband passive limiter circuit test coupon, which compares the performance of gold wire bonds against 3-D, printed additively manufactured silver conductors. The Optomec Aerosol Jet printer (AJ300) was utilized in developing a relatively new process which can achieve fine pitch and high-resolution printing of Nano-materials. The Aerosol Jet is a non-contact, mask-less printing process for printing fine pitch structures with the capability to process various inks (Conducting and non-conducting) containing Nano-particles. This presentation will show the selection procedure which includes validation of the equipment, processes, materials, and dielectric support structures necessary for printing conductive RF connections in high reliability military circuitry. Additionally, the test results between the performances of traditional wire bonding (15 samples) verses additively manufactured printed RF conductors (15 samples) will be demonstrated over a wide range of frequencies. The presentation will also cover the challenges for Additive Manufacturing (AM) which includes bridging the air gap between substrate and die, and the sintering process required to produce the conductive traces needed to achieve electrical equivalence to wire bonding.
Aerospace Program Manager
All aerospace companies continue to struggle to successfully implement automation. The product design, manufacturing requirements, product certifications, and product complexity make automation significantly more difficult that industries like automotive. There is many new technologies and capabilities that are not commonly known throughout aerospace that can solve many of the difficulties of the past. This presentation will show many different real examples of automation applicable to aerospace processes and provide updates on new developments that further ease the implementation of advanced automation for some of aerospace’s most difficult processes. The presentation will also show the many benefits of collaborative robotics and collaborative applications and how a collaborative solution can be properly implemented for a successful manufacturing process. In addition to showing real solutions and new technology developments, this presentation will describe the key project concepts common to all successful automation projects and describe how to avoid the common mistakes that cause automation to fail.
Mueller Additive Manufacturing Solutions
Topology Optimization and Generative Design have received a great deal of press about their ability to greatly reduce the weight of components without sacrificing performance. To date, however, there are few examples where such designs have been implemented, primarily because of the difficulty and cost of manufacturing optimized components in production.
This case study covers a foundry owner’s effort to use topology optimization to redesign an investment cast instrument housing. His customer informed him that the aircraft component that he had been casting for several years was a candidate for light-weighting and that he would likely lose the order. He decided to be proactive and look for an alternative casting design that would not only meet the weight reduction goals of the manufacturer but would result in fuel savings greater than the increased cost of manufacture. Although it presented significant manufacturing challenges, the resulting design not only exceeded the weight reduction objectives of the customer, but the expected fuel savings far exceeded the increased cost of manufacture.
Regional Head of Advanced Robotic Applications
The manufacturing of large, heavy parts, sometimes in small batches, has always been challenging, even with automation. Over the last decade, however, new, more flexible automation technology has been developed to enable more companies to automate their production. One such solution is the mobile robot, platforms with or without robots that are capable of transporting, processing, and measuring heavy, big parts. It is now possible to precisely maneuver mobile platforms, carrying up to 100 tons of payload. These mobile robots make it possible to process or check the quality of large parts without the need for big, complex installations.
The presentation will show how mobile platforms and robots can be used to increase the flexibility of automation projects in the manufacturing environment. Several application examples will be presented to illustrate the implementation of these technologies with focus on large and heavy part production.
Eliana Fu, PhD
Industry Manager: Aerospace & Medical
Additive Manufacturing, known colloquially as 3D Printing, is now an established method of manufacturing, is real and not a gimmick. We are currently in a new space race, which is being led by commercial tech start-ups. These companies are small, nimble-acting and forward-thinking, refuse to do things the old way and embrace the new. For these companies and more, Additive Manufacturing is the key to unlocking access to space. As we seek to push the boundaries of human space flight, the challenge for space launch providers and the associated supply chain, is to provide greater access to space by improving products, deploying new materials, simplifying designs, decreasing part count, reducing errors and driving smarter and leaner operations. Additive Manufacturing is also an enabling technology for automation, machine learning and AI. From combustion devices for rocket engine propulsion to wire arc additive manufacturing of domes, barrels and fuel tanks, the technology is providing real solutions to space exploration problems. 3D Printing in microgravity and off-planet is another aspect of Additive Manufacturing which is making science fiction become science fact. As we recommence exploring our solar system, Additive Manufacturing is the key to unlocking access to space.
WR-ALC Robotics and Automation Subject Matter Expert, Air Force
Warner Robins Air Logistics Complex
The use of specialized, custom, “bolted down” equipment, designed for specific workloads, monopolizes valuable production floor space and hampers our ability to be agile. The utilization of commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) industrial robots, mobilized and armed with COTS supporting hardware, artificial intelligence/machine learning software, model-based manufacturing capabilities, and simplified operator interfaces is a huge step toward “Creating an Agile Factory Floor”. This technology enables organizations to respond quickly to the ever-changing warfighter needs. This presentation will describe and highlight the lessons learned, successes achieved, and potential future applications through the examples of the current installation and operation of two mobile robots deployed at the Warner Robins Air Logistics Complex. These robotic systems are designed to be reconfigurable for future workloads, weapon systems, applications, capabilities, and even duty stations with little or no additional investment. This novel approach improves readiness with robotic systems that can be maintained and serviced organically, while merging the features and capabilities typically only found in one-off, custom equipment, with the agility and flexibility required to meet the on-going needs of the warfighter. The mobile nature of these systems can cut installation cost by 80% or more while shrinking installation schedules from months to days or even hours.
Senior Applications Engineer
Lockheed Martin Aeronautics
The FLCS Canopy Practice Aid is a hybrid training asset with an additively manufactured frame that supports a scrapped transparency. This practice aid replicates the conditions on the jet and allows the maintainers to practice before approaching the aircraft. The 3D printed frame is printed into 10 separate sections using Ultem 9085 material. The practice aid can be quickly assembled and fits onto the standard mil-spec canopy cart. The 10 sections of the practice aid can be printed in 1 month utilizing only one Fortus 900 machine which was one tenth of the time quoted for a standard steel frame. This additively manufactured frame can be paired with scrap transparencies to create the necessary practice aid for the units.
Today we have created a working prototype of the Canopy Practice Aid and are in the evaluation phase. The prototype has been deployed to Luke Air Force Base Egress Shop for testing and evaluation of time savings and reduction in rework. Upon completion of this trial period, we will receive recommendations and feedback from air force maintainers on design improvements.
©2021 Lockheed Martin Corporation. All Rights Reserved.
Applications Engineer Staff
Lockheed Martin Aeronautics
This presentation will walk through how an automated system was designed for the F-35 production line. It will address the methods and tools used such as requirements development, feasibility studies, risk management, and simulation. Components of the system will be covered at a high level including the end effector, tool assemblies, quality control, and part fixturing. The presentation will also provide insight into the challenges faced during design and integration of this system and other automation systems, and how they were overcome. Additionally, there will be lessons learned from these robotic drilling projects, the importance of sound project management, and accounting for the external systems when integrating into an existing production line.
Senior Applications Engineer
Lockheed Martin Aeronautics
There are multiple coatings applied to the F-35, and achieving the correct thickness is not always possible with the robotic spray process simply due to the complex contour, which can be rather severe in places, and the paint plume being sprayed. To achieve a target thickness, an operator must measure the thickness at several discreet points, then sand or add material as needed. The manual measurement process requires a stencil to be placed on the aircraft to identify the measurement points, and can be prone to spot sanding, leading to an out-of-tolerance coating. A robotic inspection system was developed to address this problem by robotically scanning the surface of the aircraft with a metrology device, then projecting a visual aid which guides the operator to where sanding or adding material is needed. The system is comprised of a sensor and projector which are attached to a collaborative robotic arm, all of which is mounted on an Autonomous Mobile Robot (AMR). The AMR drives the system into place in front of the desired inspection area. From there, the system scans the surface of the aircraft to measure thicknesses. The results of the inspection are then optically projected onto the surface so the operator can work the coating and rescan zones as needed.
Technical Sales & Business Development Manager
In the past it was easy to determine a part was done by ATL or AFP. Easy parts were mainly done by Automatic Tape Laying ATL, complex ones were typically done by Automatic Fiber Placement AFP. Today, it is needed to determine the right business case for each part based on scrap ratio, productivity, and feasibility. This presentation will define 2-3 business cases examples justifying the final machine selection architecture and technology, focusing on latest, MTorres Tape Laying technology called V3 ATL head. Due to the increase in speed, and lower acquisition price of ATL vs AFP, the new head is bringing new life into the ATL world.
Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University
Ultra-high precision predictive assembly of composite parts is vital for large-scale aircraft production. The current practice of composite fuselage shape control is low efficient, non-optimal and experience dependent. We propose a machine learning based ultra-high precision quality control technique that can improve the quality and reduce the flow time. The objective is accomplished by (i) building a digital twin platform, validated by experimental data; (ii) developing a surrogate model for predictive analysis; (iii) conducting multivariable optimization to determine the optimal control of actuators. In the case study, we show that the proposed technique can achieve satisfactory prediction performance and that the automated quality control system can significantly reduce the assembly time with improved dimensional quality. This research has obtained several best paper awards. We appreciate the support from National Science Foundation and DOD MEEP program.
In recent years there has been a continual advancement in thermoplastic parts. Improvements have come from many different sources, working together to produce, test and improve the whole process of production. The thermoplastic prepreg, machine builders, and process steps have been continually improved to bring about final parts that can be used in aviation.
In this presentation we will specifically look at the automated layup process of high-temperature thermoplastic prepreg, on complex shaped parts. The problems that arise in this process are numerous, but there has been continual advancement in improving the process parameters, machine hardware and methods of control. We have been performing many real layup tests on coupons, small scale parts, and mid-size prototype parts, using PPS, PAEK, PEKK, and PEEK material from most world-known prepreg suppliers. From these results, we discuss the improvements in various process control methods utilized to get much better final parts than it has been expected from the past and how Tier 1 suppliers are using these results for final material selection. Finally, we present briefly how to transition some of those learnings to tool-less manufacturing of TPCs and discuss some limits, capabilities, and future opportunities in expanding this novel approach to new markets for TPC manufacturing.
Lockheed Martin Aeronautics
Lockheed Martin Aeronautics spends significant time and effort every year developing technologies for their manufacturing processes. These technology areas include advanced surface preparation, metrology and inspection solutions, additive manufacturing, and coatings removal. These improvements reduce cost, save time, and increase quality for mechanics throughout the production line. Many of these same technologies are now being applied for Sustainment applications to improve aircraft readiness. By strategically adapting production methods to depot and flight line environments, Lockheed Martin can collaborate with Field Service Engineers and Government customers and advance the state of the art. The Lockheed Martin Manufacturing Technology team is coordinating with various depots and bases to demonstrate these new pieces of equipment to get feedback and start the process of bringing Sustainment up to the speed of Production. Engagements encompass many aircraft platforms including C-130, C-5, F-35, F-22, F-16, and U-2, each presenting their own unique challenges and required adaptations. Current technologies under evaluation and development include the Gap Gun for gap and mismatch measurement, a custom rotary abrasion tool for surface preparation, and custom templates for locating hidden fasteners.
© Lockheed Martin Corporation 2021
Director, Fiber Placement
There are at least three significant cost driving problems with the lamination of modern composite aerospace components. These problems are exaggerated for high production rate systems but affect all forms of automated fiber placement style lamination. 1) The utilization of AFP lamination equipment is structurally stuck at about 25-30%. This is true even though the systems have improved immensely in both reliability and performance. 2) The input costs are very high, for example carbon fiber prepreg or thermoplastic. 3) Autoclaves are huge and expensive and Airframers seem to dislike them a great deal.
This presentation will address the problems associated with item (1) poor utilization of AFP equipment and the steps we have taken to increase it by a factor of at least 4. We will explain how the quality systems in place structurally hold our AFP equipment to such low utilization and explain how AFP4.0 address these factors. AFP4.0’s main thrust maintains the safeguards that ensure acceptable laminations but automate the manual interventions that currently happen between each ply which are the cause of this low utilization.
Co-Founder and CEO
FormAlloy Technologies, Inc
Jeffrey Riemann, MS
FormAlloy Technologies, Inc.
Metal Additive Manufacturing processes such as Directed Energy Deposition (DED) can produce complex geometries with incredible benefits for applications, but there are challenges between concept design and producing a part. To create quality, repeatable parts, in-process monitoring can be utilized to both collect data and control the build process. The data collected can help determine the point of failure initiation, and with implemented control in place, self-correction is possible during the build process. With Directed Energy Deposition, various monitoring and control modes are available to reduce parameter development times, improve build quality, and limit operator input during a build. Among these control modes are melt pool size and temperature, powder flow, laser power, and geometric monitoring and control. These control modes not only significantly reduce the process parameter development cycle, but also result in a higher quality build to include density and material properties.
Composite Automation, LLC
Introduce the history of Fiber Patch Placement with the goal of creating context for the progression of the technology. Thereafter, I will show the various applications where Fiber Patch Placement has had a significant impact in meeting or exceeding manufacturing metrics for success as well as new applications. I will then inform the group about the new system available for Manufacturing Research and Development at the National Institute of Aviation Research’s ATLAS lab in Wichita, KS.
Chemical Post-Processing Advantages for High Temperature Metal Alloys on Additive Manufactured Parts
Director Business Development
Tech Met, Inc.
The use of additively manufactured high temperature components offer many benefits including cost reduction, better performance and lower risk, however, the parts created using these processes are often left with trapped or partially processed powder and, rough surfaces, heat scale and other imperfections which cause difficulty in FPI and Blue light inspection.
Chemical milling and surface post-processing for high temperature additively manufactured, 3D printed metal parts is available today on a wide variety of alloys including all printed titanium alloys, aluminum alloys (including A205) and high temperature corrosion resistant alloys (Inconel 625, Inconel 718, Haynes 188, and cobalt chrome).
Chemical post-processing improves the surface finish of parts and provides a methodology to enable product realization and meet design specifications. The finishing process can enhance a part’s surface characteristics, geometric accuracy, aesthetics, mechanical properties, and facilitate FPI and blue light inspection. Some typical applications for chemical surface treatment operations are:
- Significant improvement of fatigue performance
- Removal of unwanted surface crystalline morphologies
- Surface preparation for dye penetrants or other inspection processes
- External and Internal support structure removal
This process has been successfully used to provide a method to remove partially sintered or loose powder particles on internal and external surfaces, decrease overall surface roughness of the printed component with an average of 60-70% reduction between incoming and post processed parts, and reduces scale or oxidation layers to promote FPI interpretability.
Yourri-Samuel Dessureault, PhD
Manufacturing Research and Development Engineer
This presentation will demonstrate a method of producing aerospace quality structural members by using common equipment and materials, which together create a step molding process that emulates pultrusion. By introducing a step press technique, the short coming that hot pressing has of requiring a large mold to produce the part in a single step can be eliminated. Polyphenylene sulfide commingled carbon fiber braiding was pressed in a specially designed tool to validate the viability of the work. The resulting parts were of several common structural member geometries including straight and curved t-section and hat channels. Additionally, large beaded panel was proven to be manufacturable. Together, a demonstration of a simple yet effective thermoplastic composite processing method that could be implemented in the aerospace industry without the need for advanced technology was established.
Applications & IT Manager
Cost per part is the largest issue gating the adoption of Metal AM for serial production. Quality material can only be welded so fast before the properties start to drop off. Factors such as machine build volume, number of lasers, powder layer thickness, and part orientation can play a significant role in reducing the price of building a part. Optimizing the current generation of machines to produce material faster is one of the biggest industry drivers today. Metal AM gets faster every year, applications that used to not make sense may now be reaching a cost break point where additive could now be considered. If Metal AM is to be taken seriously as an alternate form of manufacturing not just complex geometry but simpler parts for supply chain reduction the cost per part needs to be significantly lower. We will address these topics and share practical considerations to optimize machine productivity and reduce production costs.
Composites Product Manager
Unless someone is involved in manufacturing, when a person hears the word robot, they most likely picture a machine out of a sci-fi film that resembles a human. The term robot probably also draws up the fear in most of us that robots will someday make our jobs obsolete. In fact, robots already exist in many manufacturing facets to improve quality, efficiency, and profitability. This presentation seeks to explain the different composites processes that currently take advantage of the unique skillset robots offer, the pros and cons of selecting robotics, the future projections of robots, and why we should welcome them with open arms instead of dreading their arrival in the world of automated composites.
Bhaskar Dutta, PhD
Farhad Ghadamli, CAM-F
Lead Additive Manufacturing Engineer
Additive Manufacturing (AM) is emerging as a mainstream manufacturing technology, and demand for large part manufacturing is getting stronger. Direct Metal Deposition (DMD) is a DED technology based on laser and powder metal application using a closed-loop-feedback control system. This presentation will give an overview of the DMD technology highlighting its capability to scale up to large size parts. The focus will be DM3D’s new multi-nozzle DMD technology capable of printing parts up to 10ft in diameter, 10ft in height and 5000 lbs. in weight. The multi-nozzle DMD technology doubles the part throughput with a further possibility of quadrupling it. Other challenges such as residual stress and distortion related to large scale AM will be discussed in detail. Simulation approaches to mitigate such challenges will be demonstrated through example parts. Finally, a case study involving 3D printing of a very large size real-world part, namely NASA’s RS 25 engine nozzle will be discussed. Benefits and risks of 3D printing such parts that are more than 9ft in height and weighs more than 3500Lbs will be highlighted.
Ingersoll Machine Tools, Inc.
Large format composites manufacturing suffers from high costs of retooling. As automated layup reaches new industries, market demand for equipment targeting decades-long production runs becomes less common. Automated Fiber Placement (AFP) and its deployment in manufacturing systems must respond with innovative equipment configurations and flexible processes.
Concurrently, large-format additive manufacturing (LFAM) is experiencing a generational change. Experts are emerging while machine builders and material suppliers are maturing. A demanding and concentrated user group with unique process challenges requires focused yet flexible solutions.
This presentation highlights application concepts born from the acceleration of LFAM and the paradigm shift in production AFP. Case studies, market segments and emerging technology will be discussed in depth while focusing on the hybrid machine tool as an enabling design principle.
Ingersoll Machine Tools (Rockford, IL) brings to Additive Manufacturing an over 125-year history of engineering innovation in large scale machine tools for the aerospace, transportation, energy and defense industries. Today Ingersoll designs and builds advanced subtractive and additive manufacturing machines for a wide variety of complex processes and motion control applications.