To achieve the first-time-right dream, smarter and better solutions are always being explored to improve many of the methods used to create composite products.
One of the main ideas of our first-time-right project in the vacuum infusion process is to create an intelligent mould that is capable to control the resin flow. The focus will be on improving the quality of the infusion process in such a way that complex and one-off products can be infused in one try, instead of several tries.
The plan to achieve this is using smart-moulds (with sensors and heating elements) to control the resin flow, vision systems are used to increase the quality of the build-up and advanced simulation models are linked with real-time data as shown in Figure 1.
Figure 1. A concept of an intelligent mould that is capable to control the resin flow.
This experiment focuses on the research question “Can a non-contact thermal camera sensor be used to monitor the temperature of the mould instead of using a contact temperature sensor like a thermocouple.
An Adafruit AMG8833 8×8 array Thermal Camera Sensor has been selected to check the accuracy of the surface temperature compared to the infrared thermometer as shown in Figure 2. This sensor does not only give a value of the temperature, it also can use the array of temperature values to perform a heat-vision of the object. The benefit of a non-contact sensor is that it can be applied with all types of moulds without building up a new system per one mould.
Figure 2. Adafruit AMG8833 8×8 array Thermal Camera Sensor.
The raspberry Pi 3 (RPi 3) controller is used to read and process the temperature values from the sensor module. The wiring between the sensor and the RPi 3 is shown in Figure 3. The array and the graphic display of the temperature value is shown in Figure 4. The different of the temperature value at the same point is ± 2°C when compare with the infrared thermometer, PeakTech 4950.
Figure 3. The wiring between the sensor and the RPi 3.
Figure 4. Array and graphic display of the temperature value.