Composite materials proved highly successful for aerospace applications in the last decades, but increased cost pressure forces the composite industry to become more efficient. This requires new manufacturing technologies and optimised processes as raw material costs and labour costs are basically fixed when wanting to keep production on site. Probably the most defining process for aerospace composite production is manual layup of prepreg material with subsequent curing in an autoclave. From production planning view, this combination poses the challenge of transition from discrete layup manufacturing to batch curing processing with the restriction of limited allowed storage time of the prepreg material prior to cure. In this paper, a new approach for production order optimisation at the conjunction of discrete and batch processing is presented. The APOLLO named tool is designed to decrease throughput times, streamline production and increase autoclave utilisation in the composite aerospace industry.
- batch and discrete processing
- composite processing
- prepreg manufacturing
- production planning