AUTOPREFORM: robot end effector for local workpiece manipulation in the automated production of textile preforms
In addition to the conventional fields of application of fiber-reinforced composites (FRC) in aircraft construction and in the production of ultra-light racing and sports cars, there are other potential fields of application, e. g. in mass-production applications (automotive industry) and toolmaking. The advantages of these materials over other comparable materials lie in their flexible design and good mechanical properties with low weight.
The further spread of FRC has so far failed due to the low degree of automation in production. The production chains in the manufacture of FRC are strongly handcrafted. In contrast to prepreg technology in the production of fibre-reinforced composites, preforms made of reinforcement textiles offer a potential through automation possibilities and the low-cost semi-finished products used. At the IGMR, a new end-effector system was developed, designed and implemented as a prototype for the automated production of textile preforms as a link between robot and workpiece or tools.
The end effector system consists of an adaptive multifunctional end effector (AME) for local workpiece manipulation and a guided double tool changer (DWW) for draping the workpiece in the forming tool. The results are presented by means of a demonstrator "roof part of a car".