Automatic Mapping of Fibre Orientation for Draping of Carbon Fibre Parts.

This project aims at the development of an automatic quality control and feedback mechanism to improve draping of carbon fibres on complex parts. There is a strong need in the automotive industry for automatic systems that perform quality control and improve draping processes in order to allow high production volumes. The technology that is being developed in the project will include a new sensor system for robust detection of fibre orientation combined with a robotic system to scan complex parts. This is based on a new technology that uses reflection models of carbon fibre to solve the problems encountered with earlier vision-based approaches. The data coming from the inspection system will be fed into draping simulation to improve the accuracy of the processes. Draping is the process of placing woven carbon material on typically complex 3D parts (preforms) with the goal of having the fibres oriented along specific directions predicted by finite element calculations. This is done to maximize the strength-to-weight ratio of the part.


There is a strong trend in the automotive industry towards lightweight parts to increase fuel efficiency, also considering the needs of electrical vehicles. Setting up the draping process for a complex part takes up to 50 preforms for trial-and-error improvements. Current production processes are thus not yet adequate to cover the expected volumes of several 100.000 parts per year. The project aims at shortening process development times by 90% and allowing automatic 100% quality control of fibre orientation. The industry-led consortium consists of European key partners in draping simulation, manufacturing of carbon parts for the automotive industry, sensor developers and robotic experts. It is complemented by a group of European car manufacturers that are linked to the project as associated partners.

The project is funded by the European Commission in FP7 ICT under Grant No. 284607.

Project duration: 09/2013 – 08/2016

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