Time: 3:00 PM Eastern Daylight Time
Duration: 1 hour
Composites are engineered materials often consisting of aligned fibers embedded within an engineered polymer matrix. High-performance composites are frequently produced from prepregs, or fiber beds pre-impregnated with a catalyzed but uncured polymer resin. Composites enable the production of lightweight structures with excellent mechanical properties. For these reasons, they are enabling technologies for multiple sectors of national importance, including aerospace, defense, clean energy, and ground transportation. Hand layup is often used process for making composite structures from plies of carbon-fiber prepreg. The traditional process involves human operators manipulating and conforming layers of prepreg to a tool. The manual layup process is ergonomically challenging, tedious, and limits throughput. Moreover, different operators may perform the process differently and hence introduce inconsistency. This seminar will present an overview of smart robotic cells to automate the prepreg sheet layup process. The cell uses multiple robots to manipulate and drape sheets over a tool. A human expert provides a high-level task description to guide the operation of the cell. This cell has the capability to autonomously transfer sheets from one position to another with high speed and accuracy. This cell can also generate feasible grasping and draping plans for the robot to manipulate the sheet using the digital twin of the composite sheet. This seminar will describe how the three main technological elements digital twin, physics-informed AI-enabled motion planning and deep learning-based defect detection can be implemented to achieve an autonomous layup process. These technologies enable smart robotic cells to produce high quality defect free parts at a speed comparable to human operators.