Heat Transfer Classification for Production Tooling and Composite Repairs

NCMS Project #: 140379

Problem: Improvements in computer power and sensors now enable higher quality composite manufacturing, and greatly reduced scrap as well.  This project will develop and test tools to manage heat transfer for ovens and autoclaves used in the production and repair of composites.  It has been estimated that over 10% of engineering time is spend in the disposition of discrepancies related to cure cycle and heat transfer issues.  The cost to the government is millions of dollars each year in scrapped parts, lost time, delays in returning weapons systems to service, and lost opportunity to improve performance and reduce production costs.

Benefit: This project will help to optimize the manufacture and repair process, reducing scrap, and increasing rates of readiness.

Solution/Approach: The autoclave controller hardware and software has been installed at CCAD and is being tested in their composites shop.

Impact on Warfighter: Higher quality repair of composite structures resulting in fewer failures and increased weapons system readiness.

DOD Participation:

  • U.S. Air Force (OO-ALC)
  • U.S. Army (Corpus Christi)
  • U.S. Air Force (Advanced Composites Office) (observer)

Industry Participation:

  • AvPro
  • Vought
  • Adam Aircraft
  • Rockwell Automation
  • GKN Aerospace
  • NCMS

Final Report