Adaptive multimodal in-line inspection of fiber-reinforced thermoplastics in automotive lightweight construction

Funded within the scope: Photonics Research Germany
Funding Initiative "Photonics for Flexible, Networked Production - Optical Sensor Technology

In-line capable test methods for lightweight automotive construction suitable for mass production

Nowadays, 30% of the weight of a mid-range vehicle is accounted for by the bodywork. Fiber-reinforced thermoplastics (FVT) have an enormous potential for weight minimization of structural components in the automotive sector. Not only the achievable weight reduction of this material system is advantageous in terms of resource conservation and efficiency in the operation of cars equipped with FVT components. Another interesting aspect of this material system is that it can be combined with extremely efficient, energy and resource-saving manufacturing and recycling technologies. However, what distinguishes FVTs with an extraordinary potential is that due to the availability of prefabricated plates, so-called semi-finished products, and subsequent formability, similar to classical sheet metal forming, for the first time large scale production processes suitable for the manufacture of lightweight components made of glass fiber based polymer composites appear possible.

However, the integration into production along the automotive supply chain for structurally relevant lightweight FVT components suitable for large-scale production is not yet established. A critical aspect that hinders a broad implementation is the lack of suitable inline-capable testing methods for direct control in the production process. These are necessary for the development of process technologies in this complex material system, which is increasingly being considered for mechanically highly stressed and safety-relevant components, and for quality assurance in the digitally networked and integrated production process of the manufactured lightweight components.

Adaptive multimodal structural part analysis during production

The goal of the AMITIÉ joint project is the process-adapted development of a photonic multimodal analysis system that automatically detects and adaptively optimizes the functional integrity of semi-finished products and lightweight structures made of FVT as an in-line diagnostic procedure, i.e. during production. With this development, which fuses the analysis by means of pulse thermography and synthetic 3D THz imaging, a cost-effective analysis method is to be established, which enables the non-contact 3D analysis of topological defects in FVT structures and components and furthermore an intelligently controlled production.