Smart Robotic Cells for Composite Prepreg Sheet Layup


Date: Friday, September 22, 2023
Time: 3:00 PM Eastern Daylight Time
Duration: 1 hour

Composites are engineered materials often consisting of aligned fibers embedded within an engineered polymer matrix. High-performance composites are frequently produced from prepregs, or fiber beds pre-impregnated with a catalyzed but uncured polymer resin. Composites enable the production of lightweight structures with excellent mechanical properties. For these reasons, they are enabling technologies for multiple sectors of national importance, including aerospace, defense, clean energy, and ground transportation. Hand layup is often used process for making composite structures from plies of carbon-fiber prepreg. The traditional process involves human operators manipulating and conforming layers of prepreg to a tool. The manual layup process is ergonomically challenging, tedious, and limits throughput. Moreover, different operators may perform the process differently and hence introduce inconsistency. This seminar will present an overview of smart robotic cells to automate the prepreg sheet layup process. The cell uses multiple robots to manipulate and drape sheets over a tool. A human expert provides a high-level task description to guide the operation of the cell. This cell has the capability to autonomously transfer sheets from one position to another with high speed and accuracy. This cell can also generate feasible grasping and draping plans for the robot to manipulate the sheet using the digital twin of the composite sheet. This seminar will describe how the three main technological elements digital twin, physics-informed AI-enabled motion planning and deep learning-based defect detection can be implemented to achieve an autonomous layup process. These technologies enable smart robotic cells to produce high quality defect free parts at a speed comparable to human operators.

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Satyandra K. (SK) Gupta, Ph.D.
Smith International Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Computer Science Director
Center for Advanced Manufacturing

Dr. Satyandra K. Gupta holds Smith International Professorship in the Department of Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering and the Department of Computer Science in Viterbi School of Engineering at the University of Southern California. He serves as the Director of the Center for Advanced Manufacturing. His research interests are physics-informed artificial intelligence, computational foundations for decision making, and human-centered automation. He works on applications related to Computer-Aided Design, Manufacturing Automation, and Robotics. He has published more than four hundred technical articles in journals, conference proceedings, and edited books. He is a fellow of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME), Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), Solid Modeling Association (SMA), and Society of Manufacturing Engineers (SME). He is former editor-in-chief of the ASME Journal of Computing and Information Science in Engineering. He has received numerous honors and awards for his scholarly contributions. Representative examples include a Young Investigator Award from the Office of Naval Research in 2000, Robert W. Galvin Outstanding Young Manufacturing Engineer Award from the Society of Manufacturing Engineers in 2001, CAREER Award from the National Science Foundation in 2001, Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers in 2001, Invention of the Year Award at the University of Maryland in 2007, Kos Ishii-Toshiba Award from ASME in 2011, Excellence in Research Award from ASME Computers and Information in Engineering Division in 2013, Distinguished Alumnus Award from Indian Institute of Technology, Roorkee in 2014, ASME Design Automation Award in 2021, and Distinguished Alumni Award from Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi in 2022. He was given Use-Inspired Research Award by the Viterbi School of Engineering in 2021. He has also received ten best paper awards at international conferences. He serves as a member of the Technical Advisory Committee for Advanced Robotics for Manufacturing (ARM) Institute and a member of the National Materials and Manufacturing Board.
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