CoolScan InSitu NDE for real-time quality measurement of composite prepreg hand layup and robotic AFP builds

Xi Analytics has developed the CoolScan InSitu NDE system for the real-time quality measurement of composite prepreg hand layup and robotic AFP builds. This confidential report describes the technology, its capability, and is covered by patents and patents pending.
Xi's CoolScan InSitu NDE system utilizes thermography and vision cameras integrated into a robot head, and monitors the layup of thermoset and thermoplastic materials. The thermal and video images are streamed into a computer for real-time Ai analysis, along with the coordinates of the robot head and related process data. The quality analysis of the composite build is presented to the operator as the part is being built. This allows the operator to repair any defects at the time of build, in order to make high-quality parts and greatly improve manufacturing efficiency.

Traditionally, AFP layup requires 75% of the build time for inspectors to visually inspect the layup performed by the AFP robot. Our InSitu NDE system looks to reduce this effort, in order to allow the building of parts 4x faster and with better quality. Even the best hand layup introduces FOD and bridging, and miss alignments, more than desired.

CoolScan InSitu NDE system maps video and thermal data and their real-time analyses to the true 3D shape of the part. The system uses the real-time robot positioning and process data for precise 3D coordinates. Unique to the CoolScan InSitu NDE system is the thermal camera which monitors the thermal changes from the composite layup process. The real-time process thermal flow provides a direct measure of the bond quality of the composite layup as it moves across the entire structure.

We utilize real-time analysis AI and machine learning classifiers for understanding the data to detect each defect type, and gets smarter and more accurate the more it is used with your quality inspectors. The system provides real-time quality reporting of composite layup for the operator to immediately see if a defect has been detected during that layer layup. This allows for the immediate repair of that layer, before the next layer is applied, and can no longer be easily repaired.

The NDE Inspector gets the full layer quality report as the completion of the layer. Precise area of concern of each defect is shown, for accept or rejection. NDE inspections can also be greatly enhanced with our RVAT Smart Tools track any measurements that the inspector performs. RVAT SmartTools include Point and Line tools, which are tracked and documented with ultra-precision in design coordinates. In practice, RVAT SmartTools saved 10x on the measurement and reporting time for the quality inspector, and automatically reports in the same quality report as the InSitu NDE.

The CoolScan InSitu NDE system generates a layer-by-layer quality report that provides all of the final InSitu NDE and NDE Inspector measurements, and defect detections, as well as QA approvals. The goal is to make a high-quality part every time before the autoclave. Then, when NDT detects any defects, these are process problems and can be addressed directly. All InSitu NDE, NDT and quality data are uploaded to the Xi Digital-Twin, which monitors all parts built, and provides complete reports to quality and engineering management.