Nikon Metrology announces that JEC – a network supporting the global composite industry – honors Magestic Systems Inc. and Nikon Metrology for a new metrology-assisted process for right-first-time production of composite parts. This cured laminate compensation (CLC) process allows manufacturers to overcome the tight engineering specifications set in place for composite parts, while increasing throughput and reducing scrap. The prestigious JEC award underlines the unique capability of Nikon Metrology Laser Radar to efficiently feed accurate, large-scale geometry data into this production process.

JEC brings together all segments of the global composite industry, and is dedicated to promoting composites internationally. A jury of renowned international experts has selected the best composite innovations, based on their technical interest, market potential, partnership, financial impact and originality. The 2010 JEC Awards ceremony will take place on April 13th during the opening ceremony of the JEC Show in Paris.

The partnership between Magestic Systems Inc. and Nikon Metrology was selected by the JEC jury because of the exceptional automation potential of the innovative production method for composite parts. As automation is a confirmed trend in aeronautics, the Laser Radar assisted cured laminate compensation (CLC) process was obviously a serious contender for the 2010 JEC Automation Innovation Award.

The process was developed specifically for an aerospace application to test and correct the thickness of cured composite wing skins, but the unique composite parts manufacturing process is not limited to aerostructures. Manufacturers of wind turbine blades, super yachts and cars are all beginning to incorporate composite materials into their construction, and are therefore potential candidates to adopt the process to achieve higher quality and productivity. As the prevalence of composite materials grows, so does the viability of the CLC process. The synergy between Nikon Metrology’s Laser Radar and the TruPLY Compensation (TPCTM) from Magestic Systems Inc. offers composite part manufacturers a seamless solution.

The process accurately satisfies the difficult engineering specifications for composite parts while achieving an efficient manufacturing process that minimizes waste and increases throughput. The value created by this process is in immediate material savings, reduced aircraft weight and increased production throughput.

The cured laminate compensation process takes composite parts produced slightly outside of engineering tolerances, and builds them up into finished parts that satisfy all structural and engineering requirements. Early in the process, the Laser Radar measuring system from Nikon Metrology identifies the specific surface areas on the composite parts that need geometry compensation treatment.

Within a range of 60m, the Laser Radar captures the surface geometry of composite parts of any shape and size, without requiring SMR or other targets. The geometry system is fully automatable and programmable, and measures nominal deviation faster and more accurately than other single-point measurement systems, in particular on composite materials. Based on the acquired geometry data, the laminate composite compensation plies are nested and cut automatically. The plies are laid up using laser projection technology and re-cured to obtain the final part geometry.

As large components are often very expensive because they are produced in small quantities, first-time-right production is the only valid approach. In a Metrology Assisted Production environment, accurate on-line geometry data is fed back into the process to consistently increase the precision and speed of manufacturing.