In-Situ Monitoring of Weld Line Thickness in Continuous Ultrasonic Welding of Thermoplastic Composites

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Abstract

Continuous ultrasonic welding (CUW) is one of the most efficient integration methods of thermoplastic composites. Researchers from our group have already utilized CUW method by using both frame based and robotic welding platforms to achieve sufficient amount of joint strength for aerospace applications [1-3]. On the other hand, the implementation of this method into an industrial manufacturing process still requires the ability of consistent and high-quality welding. It is obvious that a sophisticated monitoring system, which is developed for ensuring the highest-level of weld quality, will play a key role to transform CUW method into a commonly relied on industrial tool. Typically, experimental techniques like micrograph, mechanical testing and fracture surface examination are used to determine the performance of a welded composite joint, which provide the opportunity of correlating the process parameters and other process data with the welded joint performance. Within the context of this study, several experiments are conducted using the welded composite plates by robotic CUW system. It’s seen that the overall weld-line thickness, among other parameters, indicates a remarkable correlation with lap shear strength of welded joints. The results show that for weld line thicknesses above the original energy director thickness, considerable voids can be found in the weld interface. On the other hand, samples with a lower thickness than the original energy director show less voids and improved lap shear performance. After evaluating the aforementioned experimental outcomes, a weld monitoring system is designed for continuous measurement of weld line thickness for in-situ monitoring purposes. Weld monitoring system is built on a frame based continuous ultrasonic welding platform as seen in Figure 1, where the laser sensors are utilized to perform very precise thickness distribution analysis along the weld line during the continuous monitoring applications. A specialized python code is created to analyze the raw sensor data for monitoring purposes. Different monitoring system iterations and python code pairs tested and compared to achieve the most accurate monitoring experience. Results indicate that laser sensor based monitoring system provides very sensitive weld line thickness measurements, which can be related to the weld quality for industrial applications.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 20th European Conference on Composite Materials: Composites Meet Sustainability
Subtitle of host publicationVol 2 – Manufacturing
EditorsAnastasios P. Vassilopoulos, Véronique Michaud
Place of PublicationLausanne
PublisherEPFL Lausanne, Composite Construction Laboratory
Pages616-623
Number of pages8
ISBN (Electronic)978-2-9701614-0-0
Publication statusPublished - 2022
Event20th European Conference on Composite Materials: Composites Meet Sustainability - Lausanne, Switzerland
Duration: 26 Jun 202230 Jun 2022
Conference number: 20

Conference

Conference20th European Conference on Composite Materials
Abbreviated titleECCM20
Country/TerritorySwitzerland
CityLausanne
Period26/06/2230/06/22

Keywords

  • Thermoplastic Composites
  • In-situ Monitoring
  • Continuous Ultrasonic Welding
  • Thickness Measurement
  • Laser Sensors

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