While composite fabrication technology continues to trend toward fully automated work cells, certain material systems, components, and/or processes are not good candidates for full automation. Such material systems, components, or processes may benefit significantly from automation technologies that are integrated into manual operations through a robust human-machine interface (HMI). These “automation-assisted work cells” have been developed and implemented to provide operators with adjustable, ergonomic and operator-specific tool positioning; laser projection and automatic inspection, both automatically coordinated with tool motion axes; ply backing accountability; work order/recipe management including straightforward recipe generation and navigation; and integration with Manufacturing Information Systems. Work cell components, both hardware and software, and particulars of integration and implementation are described. An open- platform approach to accommodate future processes and component geometries is also discussed.
- Impetus for the development of automation-assisted work cells
- Automation-assisted work cell core elements
- Growth of automation-assisted work cell applications
Why Is It Important?
This technical paper acknowledges the advancements in composite material and component manufacturing automation technology and presents automation-assisted work cells as a manufacturing automation solution for material systems, components, or processes that don’t lend themselves to a fully automated, “lights-out” solution.