The National Composites Centre and the Bristol Composites Institute ran a well-attended and very informative conference, ACM5 on the 7th and 8th of April 2022 at the NCC. The range of impressive papers had a significant emphasis on Automated Tape Placement (AFP) and the detailed study needed to solve some of the challenges associated with AFP.
Dr Tim Searle, Research & Development Director at Composite Integration presented “From Resin Confusion to Resin Infusion – Understanding Process Control and Automation” at the conference, combining both the research that Composite Integration has undertaken and the commercial aspect involved in the industry.
The precise automation of manufacturing methods for composites is challenging, and this must be preceded with a clear understanding of the science behind the process variables, as well as the competent techniques required to produce successful material.
In addition to this understanding, Tim discussed the fundamentals and sometimes overlooked requirement is the simple skill of being very good at making composite parts. This is central to the work at Composite Integration. Whether it is the skilful manufacture and realisation of detail in small components or the logistical organisation of the infusion of large structures, it is this focus that ties together the following key steps:
1. Understanding the process variables.
2. Determination and design of an automated system to control and monitor the process.
Overall the event was highly successful, with around 90 delegates in attendance.