Xavier Martinez (CIMNE) and Daniel Sá (CompassIS)
Project Coordinator and Technical Leader
João Silva (INEGI) and Julio-Cesar De Luca (IRT Jules Verne)
Leader of FIBRE4YARDS WP2 and European Technical Coordinator
Question 1 (Q1): You are involved in the FIBRE4YARDS work package (WP) called "Assessment of advanced FRP manufacturing and joining technologies to be transferred to the shipbuilding industry" (see the project structure here). Can you describe your involvement in the project?
Answer 1 (A1) João: In this work package, I have two different roles. Firstly, as a workpackage leader, I gather all the contributions from the different parties involved in the WP and coordinate all the efforts for the pursuit outcome, which is the easy part since we have an excellent and experienced team.
Additionally, I manage the INEGI's FIBRE4YARDS activities. We are responsible for the study of the feasibility of using innovative FRP manufacturing technologies and the approach that should be followed to incorporate and combine them in the production processes to be easily implemented/transferred into the shipbuilding industry. Furthermore, INEGI will be highly engaged in the definition, validation and demonstration of the strategy for the joining processes.
Julio: In FIBRE4YARDS, we will bring our expertise in composite structure functionalisation. For this purpose, we will use a quite innovative technology known as Acoustic Black Hole (ABH), which allows adding structural damping without adding mass to plate like structures. The ABH will soon become an engineering tool to produce smarter structures with added value, specially to improve noise/vibration comfort in transportation.
Q2: What are the main steps in transferring the technologies investigated in FIBRE4YARDS to the shipbuilding industry?
A2 João: Composite materials are already applied in shipbuilding for vessels up to 50 m. Still, the lack of automation reduces the production capacity. FIBRE4YARDS aims to unlock the full potential of FRP materials in this sector.
The Shipyard 4.0 concept under development in FIBRE4YARDS will require parties in the supply chain to cooperate (co-design) in a digitised manner. It is necessary to update the current manual-dependent manufacturing processes to high-automated technologies. The adoption of the proposed technologies must consider a flexible up-and-down technology scaling approach. In addition, the implementation of an IoT powered production is essential for process and quality control.
These strategies will require new skillsets for a large part of the workforce. The training and qualification of engineers and technicians are crucial to qualify the shipyard workers to use new assembly and manufacturing procedures. Therefore, FIBRE4YARDS will assess the shipyards players' skills and specific training needs.
Q3: What are the main achievements so far?
A3 João: As part of the work package "Assessment of advanced FRP manufacturing and joining technologies to be transferred to the shipbuilding industry", the partners of the FIBRE4YARDS project have been able to benchmark the current state and interests of the European shipyards together with the mapping of the current FRP manufacturing and connection technologies. Furthermore, a detailed study of the different technologies was carried out, enabling the creation of a Comparative Matrix of FRP Manufacturing Processes. A dedicated laboratory test campaign is being carried out to assess samples manufactured by the technologies in the project.
Likewise, a major focus has been placed on the connection technologies study. A thorough definition of the testing plan was devised, and the first phase study of the connection technologies is well underway. It is being carried out in parallel with real-scenario connection techniques development.
Lastly, the ABH state-of-the-art review and the preliminary modelling of ABH to simulate vibration behaviour of a plate functionalised with the ABH has been reached.
Q4: The Acoustic Black Hole has been developed very recently. How do you plan to apply this innovative technology in FIBRE4YARDS?
A4 Julio: The first step is to capitalise from the state-of-the-art and the benchmark of current structural prototypes using the ABH, that is followed by the development of a structure modelling that will assess damping added by the ABH in composite structures like a thin plate. The plate-like demonstrators sized of 1m² in composite GFRP will be functionalised with this technology and tested to prove its capacity of adding structural damping, which will be vibro-acoustically assessed. These demonstrators will allow to better market this type of solution to potential users, mainly the transport.
Q5: Could you tell us how your organisations are planning to exploit the results generated in FIBRE4YARDS with regards to current market and technology trends?
A5 João: The production of composite components benefiting from the greater repeatability and reliability of advanced manufacturing processes is a key aspect of industry competitiveness. The outcome of the FIBRE4YARDS project will allow a deeper understanding of the current and advanced manufacturing technologies by controlling the complex interactions between the raw material, the process and the final part microstructure, quality and functionality. As a result, new components can be designed and the manufacturing systems self-adjusted. All the acquired know-how will help us in our ongoing mission to constantly improve INEGI’s ability to convert knowledge into value and to confirm our solid institutional identity as a technological partner for companies.
Julio: The demonstrators produced and functionalised with the ABH technology will be used as proof of the capacity to add damping and value to composite structures, with measurable vibro-acoustic gains. Together with the modelling and these demonstrators, we will be able to approach end-users that need to improve acoustic comfort and at the same time reduce weight and propose the engineering tool that was developed and proven.
Julio-Cesar De Luca
Ricardo López (TSI)
Mechanical Engineer / Researcher
❶ Your organisation (TSI) leads the activities of Work Package 4 (WP4), “Smart Manufacturing for Shipyard 4.0”. The upcoming tasks within this work package are firstly the installation of the monitoring equipment in production environments, which will start this month (June 2022), and secondly the integration of the IoT platform with the monitoring hardware in the production environments (between June and December 2022). What are the main parameters to be monitored, and what are the challenges for the integration of the IoT platform?
Ricardo López: Most of the parameters to be monitored in shipyard manufacturing processes are very similar. Monitoring these parameters can be crucial, because if they do not correspond to the expected operating values, this may indicate failure or damage to the machine.
Production parameter monitoring and predictive maintenance is one of the pillars of TSI’s business, and we can rely on a team of highly experienced consultants.
The selected parameters can be roughly divided into two categories: Process control and equipment maintenance. The most important variables for process control are temperature and pressure on the parts, atmospheric conditions (temperature and humidity), electric power consumption, resin viscosity and degree of polymerization of the resin. In maintenance, the most important parameter is acceleration for vibration analysis, which allows us to detect failures in pumps and other mobile components.
As far as the challenges of integration are concerned, I would like to mention two: The first is the data transfer from the sensors to the cloud platform developed by CIMNE. There are generally two types of data acquisition systems on the market. On the one hand, there are data acquisition systems with low sampling frequencies that are suitable for IOT but unsuitable for accelerometers. On the other hand, there are systems that are suitable for accelerometers but have almost no connectivity and capacity for automatic data processing. The biggest difficulty in our task was to find a system that can do both, as only a handful of them exists in the market.
The second challenge is the cyber security aspect of data transmission. This challenge is being addressed in task 4.2.2. (Implementation of a cyber security component for the Digital Twin), which will be led by Naval Group.
❷ What are the main advantages of the new equipment for end users?
Ricardo López: Thanks to the monitoring equipment, end users can track all important parameters of their manufacturing process. Better control of the respective process thus helps to improve quality and save costs.
To give an example drawn from the project context: In IRURENA’s UV-cured pultrusion, the monitoring system will register the vibrations and pulses of the AODD (Air-Operated Double-Diaphragm) pumps. This will allow us to detect unexpected diaphragm failures, predict the remaining operating life of said diaphragms, anticipate future failures and schedule the replacement at a convenient time.
Dr Joel Jurado (CompassIs)
Naval Architect / Research Engineer
Dr Joel Jurado: We have completed several milestones in numerical model development by working hand-in-hand with CIMNE and holding weekly meetings to integrate these numerical tools they are developing into the Tdyn RamSeries CAE / FEA (Computer-Aided Engineering / Finite Element Analysis) environment.
Tools for simulating advanced FRP (Fibre Reinforced Polymers) parts’ connections, for example, have already been included and will be further refined by appropriate benchmarks. Currently, the same path is being followed to incorporate a beam model for pultruded sections. In the following months, another numerical tool, a specific material model for thermoplastics, will also be implemented into the Tdyn RamSeries.
The main challenges in simulating composites are their anisotropy and the different failure mechanisms acting between them. To these distinctive traits, we need to include the advanced manufacturing processes in the equation to predict the behaviour of composites. For instance, 3D printing of composites is a procedure that adds more anisotropy to the material, given that their mechanical properties also depend on the printing direction, velocity or temperature. Developing numerical models that account for all of these variables is a real milestone to tackle. However, these challenges should not be viewed as obstacles, but as opportunities to develop new tools and hence improve our designs.
❷ How do the selected technologies affect vessel design and engineering and the production of the demonstrators (patrol boat and catamaran)?
Dr Joel Jurado: All these implemented tools will be of great value to correctly model and simulate the two demonstrator designs, and thus improve them and re-engineer the structure, incorporating the advanced manufacturing technologies studied within the project.
Composite materials have the distinctive feature that their properties can be “designed” for each specific application. We can choose and hence optimise the properties and performance of a composite structure. Adding the manufacturing variable allows us to improve the current designs from the point of view of operation and manufacture beyond the traditional techniques used in shipyards. Now the structural optimization and the manufacturing are designed in parallel, and this helps to decide which scantling and/or manufacturing procedure/technique is better, and how one affects the other. This results in a product that is more suitable for each user.
Dr Joel Jurado (CompassIs)
The information, statements and opinions in the above interviews are personal views from the individuals involved in the FIBRE4YARDS project, and do not necessarily reflect the views of the FIBRE4YARDS consortium as a whole, nor of the European Commission. None of them shall be liable for any use that may be made of the information contained herein.