Fabrication of High-Quality Polymer Composite Frame by a New Method of Fiber Winding Process

Polymer composite frame has been frequently used in the main structural body of vehicles in aerospace, automotive, etc., applications. Manufacturing of complex curved composite frame suffer from the lack of accurate and optimum method of winding process that lead to preparation of uniform fiber arrangement in critical location of the curved frame. This article deals with the fabrication of high-quality polymer composite frame through an optimal winding of textile fibers onto a non-bearing core frame using a fiber-processing head and an industrial robot. The number of winding layers of fibers and their winding angles are determined based on the operational load on the composite structure. Ensuring the correct winding angles and thus also the homogeneity of fibers in each winding layer can be achieved by using an industrial robot and by definition of its suitable off-line trajectory for the production cycle. Determination of an optimal off-line trajectory of the end-effector of a robot (robot-end-effector (REE)) is important especially in the case of complicated 3D shaped frames. The authors developed their own calculation procedure to determine the optimal REE trajectory in the composite manufacturing process. A mathematical model of the winding process, matrix calculus (particularly matrices of rotations and translations) and an optimization differential evolution algorithm are used during calculation of the optimal REE trajectory. Polymer composites with greater resistance to failure damage (especially against physical destruction) can be produced using the above mentioned procedure. The procedure was successfully tested in an experimental composite laboratory. Two practical examples of optimal trajectory calculation are included in the article. The described optimization algorithm of REE trajectory is completely independent of the industrial robot type and robot software tools used and can also be used in other composite manufacturing technologies.
polymer composite frame, winding of fibers, winding angle, matrix calculus, mathematical model, experimental verification, optimization of robot trajectory