Training is key part of any job and in a process like prepreg layup it makes all the difference. Laying down and draping fabric can, from the outside, seem like a menial task, but when the material is as valuable as carbon fibre reinforced epoxy mistakes can be costly. There are two schools of thought on preventing mistakes: inspection – detect and identify mistakes as they happen to remove them, and training – make it so the laminators/manufacturers don’t make mistakes. In reality both are necessary. In the aerospace industry for example inspection is required for traceability and quality purposes. Training is required because the manufacturing process is complex, and training is more cost-effective than attempting to completely mistake-proof the process.
What LayupRITE was envisioned as was a system which can direct laminators on location of plies and sequence of events, particularly draping plies, and in later versions also inspect and accept the layup. This vision has evolved to include a more complete vision for laminator training, but more on that in a later post.