18 Jun, 2020 By Johny 2 Comments
The Composite material industry status report and future outlook for year 2020–Aerospace market
According to a report by market intelligence and consulting company Morder Intelligence, in 2018, the aerospace and defense industries accounted for nearly 50% of the carbon fiber market revenue, which is almost equivalent to automobiles and alternative energy sources. The report added that the use of carbon fiber in aircraft has increased and The increase in the number of aircraft released on the market each year is expected to provide tremendous growth opportunities for the carbon fiber market between 2019 and 2024.
Last year, Boeing released the “2019-2038 Business Market Outlook” report, which supports Morder Intelligence’s claim of increased aircraft delivery. According to Boeing, the air travel market is expected to grow 2.5 times in 20 years. To accommodate this growth, by 2038, the size of the global commercial jet fleet will double, producing and delivering more than 44,000 jets. In addition, Boeing’s report shows that in the next 20 years, it will need to replace more than 75% of the existing fleet, nearly 19,000 aircraft.
In order to meet the strong demand in the aerospace industry, the composites industry needs to consider more than material development and supply: the manufacturing process must undergo major technological advancements, and future engineers must be equipped with advanced integrated, scalable, flexible, and Expanded tools to adapt to increasing demand complexity. Global aircraft manufacturers are actively seeking ways to improve manufacturing technology and efficiency through automation and innovative materials/processes to increase manufacturing speed and efficiency. They focus on the “Future Factory” (also known as Industry 4.0 or Smart Manufacturing) that combines information technology and operational technology.
With the development of sensor technology and manipulators, industrial robots are now able to perform unconventional and complex operations, such as labor-intensive advanced composite material layup, which often requires rigorously trained technicians. With the rapid processing concept of additive manufacturing technology and automatic fiber placement (AFP), it is possible to significantly reduce delivery time and increase material yield and productivity due to reduced interruption and improved consistency. Through the use of advanced sensors, process simulation software and in-process inspection systems, labor-intensive non-destructive inspections can be automatically performed to ensure quality, to minimize interruptions and significantly improve part quality. An in-process inspection system equipped with advanced sensors can be deployed to automatically identify manufacturing defects and enter digital information into machine learning algorithms so that corrective measures can be taken in subsequent manufacturing processes to improve part quality. This method develops digital manufacturing twins that support the sustainable development of the manufacturing industry, which is very suitable for the concept of “Future Factory” and will help to increase the productivity of commercial and defense aircraft.
In order to successfully integrate traditional design and manufacturing processes with novel and advanced technologies, manufacturing engineering education programs must be strengthened so that future engineers have the tools and applied learning necessary to apply science, mathematics, and engineering principles to the production process experience. The National Institute of Aeronautics (NIAR) at Wichita State University (WSU) is one of several organizations that strive to accelerate innovation by investing in advanced manufacturing technology related to the industry. The NIAR Aerospace Systems Advanced Technology Laboratory (ATLAS) has established a comprehensive set of technologies with several strategic partners to create digital threads that connect design and manufacturing elements to effectively integrate all aspects of the manufacturing process.
Recent advances in heating technology and automated manufacturing technology have enabled thermoplastics to be used in automated manufacturing processes. In-situ curing eliminates secondary processes such as vacuum packaging and autoclave/oven curing, which greatly reduces manufacturing costs and increases productivity. In addition, with the help of highly adaptive automated tool-less manufacturing technology, it is possible to coordinate the actions of the robot to produce 3D composite parts outside the autoclave. This is similar to additive manufacturing, adding continuous fibers for structural applications. With this technology, parts can be manufactured from 3D CAD drawings, and digital twins can be used to quickly make copies for easy maintenance.
The future of composite materials in the aerospace industry is bright, but it requires cooperation between government agencies, aircraft manufacturers, equipment suppliers, material suppliers and universities to ensure that we develop the right materials and create streamlined technologies And manufacturing processes to meet the growing demand for aircraft