This study investigates and compares different methods for improving standard autoclave composite manufacturing in order to find suitable approaches to a more efficient composite production. The goal is not only a reduction in manufacturing times and costs but also quality enhancement. Improved part quality while decreasing costs enables a manufacturer of composite parts to expand its market share, especially in the helicopter market, which has been constantly shrinking over the last two years. Various approaches such as improved tooling technology, the use of automated systems for lamination as well as outsourcing are examined to provide an overview of possible advancements in the area of autoclave manufacturing. The results firstly suggest that a thermal tooling optimization provides significant improvements; secondly, the use of automated systems and outsourcing will improve efficiency only under the condition that the relationship of potential cost reduction and the required investment is beneficial.
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/hans-joachim-ruff-stahl/14/