A software tool for composite component design and manufacturing has been developed as part of the PROSEL project.

The project, run by Cranfield University and Axillium Research is part of the Composite Innovation Cluster (CIC).

The tool is intended to provide recommendations for materials and process selection, and compare manufacturing costs, tailored to the product application and requirement specifications. It includes design and manufacturing guidelines, providing insight and advice for composites applications and manufacturing processes.
The software tool has been set up to assist design engineers, manufacturing engineers and consultants in developing smarter, more efficient composite components and structures. 20 UK specialist engineers have helped provide a comprehensive knowledge base for the design and manufacture of composite components and structures.  

The tool comprises six stages:

  • The components size and shape, surface finish and required dimensional tolerances are considered
  • The target weight saving informs the materials stiffness, layer thickness and fiber direction tailoring capability requirements
  • Production rate consideration drives the selection of the materials form, lay up technique, moulding process and tooling technology
  • Structural stiffening approaches and assembly preferences are then assessed, such as multiple part co-curing, net shape moulding, foam cores and embedded inserts
  • For each combination which has been assessed as feasible for the application, the tool carries out a comparative estimation of unit materials cost; with compensation for stiffness, hence thickness, and process waste
  • Additionally, for each applicable combination, worldwide applications are identified with materials and process equipment and tooling supplier information provided.

To assist with composite component design stages, after the materials and processing technique has been selected, design for manufacture guidelines have been set up on a dedicated website, which include detailed design and process technique notes sourced from experienced consultants in industry and research centers. 

This story is reprinted from material from the CICwith editorial changes made by Materials Today. The views expressed in this article do not necessarily represent those of Elsevier.