CompositesWorld

JUL 2018

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NEWS 41 CompositesWorld.com UAV Update is waiting. After exchange is confirmed, the tension mechanism switches to low tension, and the drone carries the unspooling fiber to the next robotic platform. e researchers used the robotic- drone cell to fabricate a 12m long demonstrator cantilever as an example of the shape and size of parts that could not have been produced by traditional automated fiber-winding setup (Fig. 4, p. 39). e part comprised single-end continuous glass roving, SE1500-2400tex donated by Lange+Ritter GmbH (Gerlingen, Germany) and SIGRAFIL continuous carbon fiber tow, CT50- 4.0/240-E100, donated by SGL Technologies GmbH (Wiesbaden, Germany). Fibers were pre-impregnated with EPIKOTE MGS LR 135 epoxy resin formulated with EPIKURE MGS LH 138 curing agent, supplied by Hexion (Columbus, OH, US). e part was fabricated using prepregged fibers and dry fibers impregnated in a fiber-dip resin bath. Solly reports the process demonstrated by the project is best suited to producing horizontal structures with long spans between vertical supports, such as ballroom roofs or pedestrian bridges in which the reduction in self-weight can be expected to yield significant reductions of materials used and cost. He reports that he and his colleagues will elaborate on the process and its applications with a paper being presented at the upcoming International Association for Shell and Spatial Structures (IASS 2018) conference, July 16-20, Boston, MA, US. In another industrial-related project, a research team at the MIT Media Lab is investigating the use of drones to locate and identify warehouse inventory via radio frequency ID (RFID) tags. A need for improvements in inventory accounting prac- tices, brought on by the increase in scale of modern warehouse and shipping operations, has been acknowledged for some time. Manual scanning is laborious, costly and prone to error. Walmart, for example, reported in 2013 losing more than US$3 billion in revenue due to mismatches between its inventory records and its actual stock. e MIT team has successfully developed a prototype that enables small, lightweight drones with flexible plastic rotors — the only type approved for use in close vicinity to humans — to read RFID tags from tens of meters away while identifying the tags' locations with an average error of about 19 cm. e Bebop-2 drones used for the study are manufactured by Parrot Corp. (Paris, France). Designed specifically to exhibit low vibration for applications such as photography, the drone features a fuselage made from glass-filled Grilamid TR nylon, supplied by EMS-CHEMIE AG (Domat/Ems, Switzerland). Each drone weighs about 500g and can fly autonomously for about 25 minutes. Although they are approved for use around people, the drones are too small to carry an RFID reader with a range of more than a few centimeters. Instead — this is the key research breakthrough — the drones are used to relay signals emitted by a standard RFID reader to a RFID tag. When the signal reaches the tag, the tag then encodes its identifier on the signal before sending it back to the drone. e drone forwards the signal to the reader, which decodes the identifier, and thus the item and location of the item. e team FIG. 5 All-day aerial survey drone Stratus Aeronautics' (Burnaby, BC, Canada) Venture UAV is employed to perform various types of aerial surveys and is capable of long-range missions of up to 10 hr in duration. The unpiloted plane features an airframe molded from carbon fiber prepreg, wings comprising a semi-monocoque with foam cores, and a uncored, monocoque fuselage. Source | Stratus Aeronautics

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