Partly funded by the European Seventh Framework Programme (FP7), the iREMO (intelligent REactive polymer composites MOulding) project involves the following 10 organisations:

Background

Reactive polymer composite moulding techniques can produce high quality composite parts but their production cycle is governed by a lengthy polymerisation phase, requiring significant amounts of experimentation, while issues like aged resin, mixing ratio quality and batch-to-batch variations may make the production process unreliable. To avoid these problems in industrial practice, curing is extended by over 30% in time, so an intelligent control system that would handle all these issues could save up to 30% of energy, production time and assets.

Objectives

In order to turn composites moulding into an agile industrial process, the iREMO project is developing intelligent process monitoring and control tools to facilitate the automation of composites manufacturing:

  • self-learning process tools that can efficiently handle production and material deviations without requiring extensive lab trials and scientific models;
  • knowledge-based databases and model-based simulations that can provide the information essential to cope automatically with different matrices, batch-to-batch variations and small scale productions; and
  • robust and reliable process monitoring that can sense the state of the moulded materials, providing accurate real-time information on the status of the process.

These tools will be applied to three industrial sectors (automotive, construction and boat building) in resin transfer moulding (RTM), infusion and pultrusion processes, to demonstrate the effectiveness of the proposed process control.