The Importance of Quality at the World's Biggest Composites Exhibition

by Alexander Leutner on March 14, 2019 From Technology, News And Comment

Today is the final day of JEC World 2019, the world’s biggest composites show, which has been hosted at the exhibition centre at Paris Nord Villepinte this week. The Apodius team and I have been here for the whole show, exhibiting our range of composite inspection solutions alongside the team behind Digimat, Hexagon’s specialist materials simulation platform.

The show has given us the opportunity to show off our recently launched APODIUS Vision System 2D, a standalone camera-based fibre-orientation analysis system that has the potential to significantly improve quality in composite material production. Also on show was the next generation of our 3D system, designed to work with the new generation of Absolute Arm systems and the RS5 Laser Scanner. Keep an eye out in the coming months for an official release of that system.

Apodius at JEC blog 2_The Importance of QualityWe additionally had the opportunity to preview some other interesting projects we’ve been working on, and that we hope to soon make available to Hexagon customers worldwide as new solutions for composite material quality control. First among these is our APODIUS ContInspect system, which uses a powerful software interface and a unique camera set-up to analyse raw composite fabric as it comes off the production line. This is a truly online solution that can be integrated within the raw material production process, putting quality control right at the foundation of production so that errors can be fixed as they’re being made rather than at later, costlier points in the process.

Also on show at JEC World 2019 this week was our robot-mounted APODIUS AFP Inspection System that puts quality control right at the sharp end of composite part production. By integrating our control system alongside the actual fibre-placement system on the robot, we’re able to analyse fibre quality simultaneously with material lay up to deliver instantaneous identification of material faults.

The big message for us at JEC World 2019 this year has simply been the importance of quality control in composite material production. While in many industries the key role of high-accuracy, metrology technology-driven quality control is already deeply enshrined, technological limitations have meant that such processes simply weren’t possible in the field of composite material production.APODIUS at JEC blog 3_The Importance of Quality

But with new systems like APODIUS 2D, we can for the first time go beyond a simple hand and eye check and bring systematised and fine-grained analysis to composite production on a fibre-by-fibre level. 

Our work with the Digimat team has provided a clear confirmation of the value our composite analysis has to offer when it comes to ensuring higher quality parts. Repeated tests have shown that adding the part data we collect to Digimat results in a more accurate simulation of real-world materials performance than simulations based on CAD data. That’s because our systems give a more accurate picture of the real quality of composite materials, and therefore allow the simulation to account for any imperfections in the material when constructing its models.

And that’s what our composite solutions are all about – delivering a real picture of composite material quality, so that manufacturers can make sure only the highest quality material goes into their parts.

Alexander Leutner

Alexander Leutner is the Managing Director and co-founder of Apodius GmbH, which was acquired by Hexagon in 2016 and is now part of the Hexagon Manufacturing Intelligence organization. Leutner holds a degree in Mechanical Engineering for production engineering from RWTH Aachen University in Aachen, Germany, with an emphasis on measurement technology and quality management.