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3D Robotic Filament Winding for High-Performance Composite Materials: A Novel Path Planning Approach



Challenges in Robotic Filament Winding

Robotic filament winding presents an advanced avenue for creating high-performance materials, particularly in industries like aerospace, automotive, and construction. The core technology involves winding fibers around shapes to enhance structural integrity and minimize material use. Yet, transitioning from traditional methodologies to a more complex 3D robotic filament winding introduces significant challenges.

traditional filament winding has the following limitations that make it unsuitable for modern challenges:

  • It requires a core structure to wind the fibers around, which restricts the possible shapes and fiber orientations.

  • It is not well-suited for creating structures with out-of-plane or 3D reinforcements, which are needed for many modern applications.

  • The fiber orientations are limited by the shape of the core structure, preventing the creation of highly optimized, load-adapted composite structures.

In contrast, coreless robotic winding (CRW) allows for greater design freedom and the creation of complex, 3D-reinforced structures without the need for a core.


Addressing the Limitations of Traditional Filament Winding Techniques with Modern Engineering

Modern engineering approaches address the limitations of traditional filament winding techniques in the following ways:

  1. Coreless robotic winding (CRW): CRW eliminates the need for a core structure, allowing for greater design freedom and the creation of complex, 3D-reinforced structures. This technique enables the production of highly optimized, load-adapted composite structures with customized fiber orientations.

  2. Topology optimization: Advanced computational tools and algorithms enable the design of optimized truss structures based on specific load cases and boundary conditions. Topology optimization methods, such as the solid isotropic material with penalization (SIMP) approach, help create efficient and lightweight composite structures.

  3. Automated path planning: Novel algorithms, like the modified Hierholzer's algorithm proposed in the article, automate the path planning process for coreless robotic winding. These algorithms generate optimal winding paths while considering collision avoidance, process-related factors, and the 3D nature of the structures.

  4. Advanced materials: The use of high-performance fibers, such as carbon and basalt fibers, in combination with advanced matrix systems, enhances the mechanical properties of the composite structures. These materials enable the creation of structures with exceptional strength-to-weight ratios and improved durability.

By leveraging these modern engineering approaches, the limitations of traditional filament winding techniques can be overcome, enabling the production of complex, load-optimized composite structures for various applications in aerospace, automotive, and civil engineering.


Revolutionizing Path Planning with Hierholzer’s Algorithm and 3D Geometric Considerations

The path planning process using Hierholzer's algorithm and 3D geometric considerations can be broken down into two main steps:

Step 1: Hierholzer's Algorithm for Node Sequence Generation

  • The input is the positions of the winding elements (nodes) and the number of yarns required between each pair of nodes.

  • The algorithm represents the structure as a graph, with nodes connected by edges (yarns).

  • It then finds an Euler path that visits each edge exactly once, ensuring all required connections are made.

  • Modifications are made to handle collision avoidance and process-related considerations:

  • Check for connections that cover other connections and update the adjacency matrix.

  • Verify if a subcircle (a sequence of nodes) is covered by or covers other connections before inserting it into the main sequence.

  • Use a genetic algorithm to find a close-to-optimal path when no successful subcircle can be constructed.

  • The output is an ordered sequence of nodes to be connected by the robot.

Step 2: 3D Geometric Considerations for Spatial Path Planning

  • The input is the ordered sequence of nodes generated by Hierholzer's algorithm.

  • The path planning initially focuses on the x-y plane, assuming the winding elements are oriented along the z-axis.

  • Key geometric considerations include:

  • Ensuring collision-free motions by maintaining a safe distance between the yarn guide and winding elements.

  • Determining the direction of motion (clockwise or counterclockwise) around the winding elements based on the positions of the previous, current, and next elements.

  • Implementing the lay-in mechanism to ensure proper yarn deposition between the pins of the winding elements.

  • The z-coordinate of the path is determined using a tilted plane constructed from the pin positions and a height map generated from the positions of already deposited yarns.

  • The output is a sequence of 3D coordinates for the robot's end-effector, defining the winding path.

By combining Hierholzer's algorithm for node sequence generation and 3D geometric considerations for spatial path planning, the proposed approach enables the automated and optimized winding of complex, load-adapted composite structures using coreless robotic winding techniques.


Automating 3D Robotic Filament Winding for Enhanced Efficiency and Precision in Composite Manufacturing

Automating the 3D robotic filament winding process with improved algorithms enhances efficiency and precision in composite manufacturing in several ways:

  1. Optimized path planning: The modified Hierholzer's algorithm generates an optimal sequence of nodes, minimizing the total path length and reducing unnecessary movements. This optimized path planning leads to shorter production times and increased efficiency in the winding process.

  2. Collision avoidance: The algorithms consider potential collisions between the yarn guide, winding elements, and previously deposited yarns. By incorporating collision avoidance into the path planning process, the algorithms ensure smooth and uninterrupted winding operations, reducing the risk of manufacturing errors and improving overall precision.

  3. Customized fiber orientations: The automated path planning algorithms enable the creation of complex, 3D-reinforced structures with customized fiber orientations. This level of control over fiber placement allows for the production of highly optimized, load-adapted composite structures, enhancing the overall performance and efficiency of the manufactured components.

  4. Reduced material waste: The algorithms aim to minimize excess material deposition by closely following the desired yarn distribution determined by the topology optimization process. By reducing material waste, the automated process leads to cost savings and improved resource efficiency in composite manufacturing.

  5. Repeatability and consistency: Automating the winding process with improved algorithms ensures high repeatability and consistency in the manufactured composite structures. This level of precision is crucial for producing high-quality components with reliable performance characteristics, especially in industries such as aerospace and automotive.

  6. Increased throughput: The optimized path planning and automated winding process enable faster production rates compared to manual or semi-automated methods. This increased throughput allows for the efficient manufacturing of larger volumes of composite components, meeting the growing demand in various industries.

By leveraging improved algorithms for 3D robotic filament winding, manufacturers can enhance efficiency, precision, and overall performance in composite manufacturing, ultimately leading to the production of high-quality, load-optimized structures for a wide range of applications.



we'd like to extend our gratitude to Johannes Mersch, Danny Friese, and Hung Le Xuan, the esteemed authors of the PDF titled "Automating the 3D robotic filament winding process for high-performance composite materials." Their pioneering research and insightful contributions have been instrumental in crafting this blog, providing a deep dive into the complexities and innovations within the field of robotic filament winding. Their dedication to advancing this technology not only enhances our understanding but also pushes the boundaries of what is possible in composite manufacturing. Thank you, Johannes, Danny, and Hung, for your significant contributions to this exciting field!


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