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Falcon

Fully automated, controlled and versatile system for low cost, high rate and energy efficient production of highly loaded aeronautical structural parts.

FALCON project

Program: H2020-CLEANSKY

Duration: June 2017- November 2019

Coordinator: Pere Castell, Aitiip Technology Center

More information: Pascual Gracia,
Clean Sky news: https://www.cleansky.eu/falcon-takes-classic-manufacturing-to-the-next-level

The main objective of the FALCON project is the design and manufacturing a versatile tooling system (reduction of tooling by up 40%) for the effective (30% reduction in time, 20% in cost and 20% in energy) and high quality (Aeronautic Quality Standards) production of CFRP frames for different fuselage sections subjected to different level of loads.
Fundación AITIIP has manufactured a large-size press-forming tooling and a resin transfer moulding (RTM) curing tooling for aeronautics parts within the framework of the CLEANSKY2 project ‘FALCON’. The press-forming tooling is composed of a press able to reach press forces of 150 tonnes and a tooling with 6 mobile mandrels which are able to bend and iron the fabric during the conforming process.

The heat is conducted by the materials but generated from the press. Several additional technical innovations have been developed to improve the manufacturing process. These modules have plug and produce connectors for fast and accurate connexion and individual hydraulic cylinders for a precise controlling of the kinematics of the process. In addition, the cooling/heating system will be also especially designed for improving part quality and process energy efficiency, and novel Additive Manufacturing technologies were used to implement conformal heating and cooling approaches. This cooling/heating is adapted to part geometries through the combination of metallisation technologies with embedded channels and metallic additive 3D technologies applied to trickiest geometries.

Tooling

The RTM curing tooling is used for curing the preformed part resulted from the (previous) press forming process. It is essentially composed of two moulds (upper and lower) plus several mandrels. In other hand, the curing tooling is designed for including all the required reinforcements into the frame during the curing process independently to the face of the part in which should be placed. This will be achieved by means of positioning tooling which are produced according to each part requirements through the utilisation of high accuracy mechanising equipment.

The focus of FALCON is not exclusively centred on press-forming and curing techniques, but in the way these other innovations – software, control, monitoring, modularity, ALM technologies – can be added to the former and take classic manufacturing to the next level. This project has enabled AITIIP to understand and develop a unique servo-forming concept for flexible press-forming machines able to fold large format U-T- and Z-shaped hi-tape sheets.

Hi-tape

In FALCON, the production processes are monitored and controlled in real time using a closed loop, avoiding errors in the dimensional and thermal aspects of the production. Together with the one-shot approach, everything adds up to important energy and material savings.

Results

The servo-forming concept in the FALCON press-forming machine acquires control data to correct the actuation of the press. In terms of robustness and repeatability FALCON shows clear advantages to other non-automated systems. Additionally, FALCON modularity and versatility permits an easy and cost-effective adaptation to materials with new functionalities. FALCON will still be a reliable solution in the future. Tooling cost reduction, flexibility and modularity of the solution will pave the way to improve production ratios, with innovative out of autoclave technologies that reduces energy and materials consumption, as waste is minimized in aeronautic sector production process.

In order to disseminate the results of the project FALCON posted several news in social networks (Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter) with a large impact on more than 4.500 different users. Moreover, a large interest was shown in the industrial sector within the dedicated conferences and fairs as the case of:

  • Metal Madrid (Madrid, November 2019): Parallel sessions with Composites Spain and Robomática 2019. AITIIP participated with a shared booth with partner ARASOL, showing some of the production capabilities and demonstrators made in metal parts and composites, including FALCON.
  • KRAKEN Final Conference (Zaragoza, September 2019): José Antonio Dieste (project coordinator) also presented the FALCON project capabilities as part of AITIIP next R&D milestones related with the aeronautics sector to a mainly industrial audience composed by around 100 attendees.

Aitiip Technology Center

The topic manager for this initiative is AERNNOVA and the total budget was €496.250. FALCON ran from June 2017 and closed in November 2019.

This project has received funding from the Clean Sky 2 Joint Undertaking under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 754274
Sky 2 UE