Inspection and Repair Preparation Cell (IRPC)

NCMS Project #: 140350

Problem: The C-130 Radomes, F-15 Radomes and F-15 Speed Brakes are large complex composite structures, with a high volume repair rates.  The current Radome inspection and repair processes are performed manually.  The Phase I of the IRPC, the first 12 months of the program will be devoted to qualifying individual processes, as applied specifically to the three components, and the Phase II will be utilized for performing the functions required, employing the individual processes in the machine tool/work cell environ­ment and constraints.  The manual operations to be automated include detection of defective areas, routing, or grinding operation, to remove the defective composite skin, removal of crushed core, preparation of replacement core plugs, and preparation of dry fabric plies for repair.  While the proposed IRPC demonstration project has focused on the C-130 Nose Radome, the proposed work cell will be applicable to the repair of many different types and sizes of large composite structures.

Benefit: IRPC is envisioned as a project to demonstrate an annual savings of $1,987K across the three components along with significant reductions in flow days that would achieve a less than two year pay back.

Solution/Approach: The team has selected the C-130 Radome and the F-15 Radome and Speed Brake at the Warner Robins ALC, to demonstrate the production ready technologies delivered by the IRPC.

Impact on Warfighter: The IRPC project is a direct response to the need for increasing in-service time for expensive, critical composite structures by reducing both cost and cycle times for their required maintenance.

DOD Participation:

  • U.S. Air Force (WR-ALC)
  • U.S. Air Force (OC-ALC) (observer)
  • U.S. Air Force (OO-ALC) (observer)
  • U.S. Navy (NFPC) (observer)
  • U.S. Army (Tobyhanna) (observer)
  • AFRL Composites Directorate (observer)
  • AFRL NDI Directorate (observer)
  • U.S. Army (Anniston) (observer)
  • U.S. Army (TARDEC) (observer)

Industry Participation:

  • GFM
  • Assembly Guidance Systems
  • Steinbichler
  • Manufacturing Resources Inc.
  • Boeing
  • Picometrix
  • NCMS