Exp. 2- Cloud-based modelling for improving resin infusion process
The manufacturing of a boat may not be as simple and easy as it seems. It requires time, high-quality manufacturers but above all, precision. If it’s not carried out in the expected way, could lead to significant defects in the final product and even rejecting it, throwing away material and wasting time.
The objective of this experiment was to apply a model that could be run in synergy with the HPC computing resources accessing it from a traditional desktop workstation to remote computing resources. This led to an increase in its own competitiveness thanks to short product design cycles, high quality products achieved by analysing processes and being allowed to run repetitions looking for the best product design, without wasting time, money and material. This platform was able to optimise the resin injections points/vents and verify the presence of defects in the final product, thus ensuring a complete and correct mold-filling. Instead of needing up to 15-20 days to run on a in-house workstation, these simulations could be run in a few days on an HPC system.
CETMA was able to exploit the possibilities the customised simulation offers to SME’s specialised in boat hulls manufacturing, but also in turbines blades for wind energy.
The manufacturer, CATMARINE experienced a major improvment to the manufacturing process of boat hulls by the introduction of VARTM (Vacuum Assisted Resin Transfer Molding) for producing parts longer than 10mts. to reduce labor and raw material costs by 50%.
Moving from the hand lay-up method to the VARTM one brings enormous benefits (faster production, costs reduction, improved quality, health and safety issues) while bringing thus simulation and HPC challenges that in this project are faced: (1) prediction of the correct positioning of the fabric onto the mould, (2) prediction of the flow behaviour of the resin during the mould filling. Simulation can address all these issues, but they significantly increase the computing resources required. The VARTM production process strongly helps in the construction of parts longer than 10m where labour and material costs are expected to decrease by 50%. The tooling costs associated with the VARTM process are significantly lower than with the hand lay-up method, as it uses a single-sided mould and it can be done by softer material with lower tolerances. Compared to hand lay-up the VARTM method using vacuum pressure reduces the presence of voids. The total turnover of nautical sector in Italy is around 1.8€ billion. An average of 3% is spent in developing new products/process, it means 54€ million per year. The addressable market size of the solution developed by CETMA in CLOUDFACTURING could be estimated in 5% of such figure, i.e. 2.7€ million. Furthermore, the ISV can look also to offer the solution to a wider target market as the VARTM methodology is adopted not only in the nautical sector (i.e. boat hulls) but also in other fields such as for example the aircraft , wind turbine blades, bridge beams, and building cladding panels by providing the best combination of part quality and low costs (it allows to manufacture large, complex sandwich structures in a single step).
CETMA expectiations in terms of future revenue linked to the experiment are:
• First Year: 25K€
• Within 5 years: 450K€
In terms of new jobs, it is expected to increase the Staff dedicated to simulation activities in one researcher.