OCT 2018


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OCTOBER 2018 60 CompositesWorld FEATURE / Virtual Reality a nose cone developed for a hypersonic application is about 175 cm long with a diameter of about 63 cm. It is laid up in two halves, using a female mold. Wightman found that a laser projection system just wouldn't work effectively or cost-efficiently with these geometries. "We would have needed three or four projectors, and calibration would have been much more involved," he says. Such a system also would have had a six-figure price tag, where Systima's PlyMatch implementation cost less than US$50,000. Further, using PlyMatch, manufacturing the nose cone and similar components has proven efficient and straightforward, Wightman asserts. Systima designs its products using CATIA, then exports an IGES file to the PlyMatch system. When the compos- ites staff is ready to build a component, an operator performs PlyMatch's initial calibration and is ready to begin layup in less than 5 minutes. Even positioning of plies while looking at the monitor is said to be straightforward— Wightman contends that an operator who already knows how to perform layup can be trained and proficient with PlyMatch in an afternoon. Systima has built components using PlyMatch from the start, so Wightman does not have comparative data; but he estimates that layup of a complete flight set (two halves) would take at least twice as long as the current three weeks if it were performed using templates and ply books. He also emphasizes how important it is that the system has resulted in accurate, timely layup of flight-crit- ical parts. "In hypersonic programs, it is imperative to get it right. Raw materials alone may be worth US$30,000 per nose cone, and there may be 1,700 pieces in one ply kit." e PlyMatch system reportedly also can locate manufacturing or assembly-sequence features, such as inserts or bolt holes. Addi- tionally, the complete build process can be digitally recorded to an .avi file, providing a record of each individual component, as built, and showing any deviations from nominal ply position or fiber orientation. For automated manufacturing, PlyMatch has the potential to be adapted to record machine movements and material placement relative to the nominal. Anaglyph says it continues to upgrade PlyMatch, adapting new hardware technologies and software upgrades as they become available. Emmanuelle de Posson, marketing manager at Anaglyph, mentions camera and lens technologies, PC inter- faces and PC peripherals as examples, and adds, "Currently we are working towards a totally wireless version, which is a chal- lenge, given the requirements for long battery power and no loss of video picture quality." Anaglyph also is working on methods to effectively accommodate larger tools and layups with sufficient accuracy and alignment. Additionally, a version of PlyMatch that uses an AR headset device is in development. Virtually mapping rework and repair Another major player in AR for composites applications is InFac- tory Solutions (Taufkirchen, Germany), an Airbus subsidiary Addressing defects in real time InFactory Solutions VisinPro application, under development, uses AR glasses to pinpoint a defect on the actual production surface, along with information that assists the technician in remediating the defect. Source: InFactory Solutions

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