Swinburne implements carbon fibre defect detection AI technology

Swinburne University has installed a new collaborative robotic system, in a world-first full digitalised inspection system for defect detection in carbon fibre composite production.

The system, called DrapeWatch, is installed in the university’s Industry 4.0 Testlab in 2020, as part of the Factory of the Future facility.

Swinburne has implemented the system in collaboration with the University of Stuttgart and CIKONI, a German composite technology and engineering company.

DrapeWatch will find gaps, misalignments, and irregularities in 3D printed carbon fibre composites. Using a vision-sensing system, and a probe for internal defences, the data will be analysed by CIKONI’s artificial intelligence algorithms to ascertain errors in the material.

Swinburne hopes that the set-up will allow for early detection of defects, avoiding costly reruns of carbon fibre materials. The users of this technology are local and national industrial partners, as Professor Bronwyn Fox, director of the university’s Manufacturing Futures Research Institute, noted.

“This technology is strategically aligned with Swinburne’s university-wide Industry 4.0 strategy and we’re very excited to be working with such an innovative company like CIKONI and their unique technology, and to be demonstrating that to industry here in Australia,” she said.

CIKONI similarly hopes to use the facility to further improve the automated manufacturing of advanced carbon fibre composites, as founder and managing partner, Jan-Philipp Fuhr, highlighted.

“We are looking forward to continuing our close collaboration with Swinburne on DrapeWatch and other innovative composite technology to enable improvements of automated composites production and inspection.”