Monitorization with FBG sensors of thermoplastics materials manufacturing processes. Diego Sáenz del Castillo's Thesis

News Thermoplastic

Aeronautical industry is in continuous evolution and last decades have involved an important reduction of costs and time in both structural weight and automatization of industrial processes.

Thermoplastic matrix composite materials are being developed due to they are able to offer a significant weight reduction but maintaining a high in-service structural behavior besides the possibilities of reprocessing, recycling, not expiration date…

FIDAMC has been focused on the development of laser-assisted Automatic Tape Placement (ATP) for thermoplastic materials with an In-Situ Consolidation (ISC) technique. This process arises as a powerful tool for taping the material at the same time that it is consolidated. Consequently, a step in the manufacturing chain is removed.

ISC process has physico-chemical phenomena associated such as thermal diffusion, intimate contact, crystallization, internal stresses that must be understood and optimized to lead the process to a completed automatization.

To make the industrialization possible, FIDAMC has carried out analytical and experimental work by modelling the process and incorporating sensor to monitor key parameters. Optical Fiber Bragg Grating sensors (FBG) emerges as a good way to monitor the process parameters and shed light over the physical processes that are taken place during the thermoplastic composites manufacturing.

The incorporation of FBG optical sensors to the process is also aimed to stablish a way to the flaws detection in real-time when the composite part is under manufacturing, which is known as On-line monitoring.

Furthermore, the industry is strongly trending to the known as Industry 4.0 or Smart Industry where big data, internet of things, automatization and sensorization of the factories will suppose an essential role.

With the incorporation of optical sensors to composite manufacturing processes, FIDAMC is leading to the industry closer to the future Smart Factories.