The automated composites manufacturing, testing and NDI facility of NLR provides a knowledge infrastructure in which research can be conducted from Technology Readiness Levels TRL 2 to TRL 8. It provides a semi open innovation setting in which NLR can work together with universities and knowledge institutes on the lower range of the TRL scale (TRL 2- TRL 4). At these lower TRL levels fundamental research can be conducted on new innovative materials and processes by manufacturing, testing and inspecting coupons and small structural details.
The higher TRL scales (TRL 4 – TRL 8) often are executed in close collaboration with private entities. To facilitate the research the facility is equipped with state of the art manufacturing, testing and NDI equipment. The facility, which is one of the Smart Industry Fieldlabs, is capable of manufacturing, testing and inspecting full scale prototypes.
The automated composites manufacturing, testing and NDI facility of NLR operates as a living lab in which people can stay in the facility for a certain amount of time to conduct their research and use the required equipment. Offices can be made available for the researchers during that period.
Private companies can develop composite components and the required automated composites manufacturing and inspection techniques according to the same concept mentioned above. For companies this means that they don’t have to invest in expensive equipment during the product development phase since these are available at the facility of NLR. Hence the facility of NLR offers a great opportunity to bridge the valley of death which too often is hampering developments especially for SME’s. After completion of the product development phase companies can use the facilities of NLR to produce 0-series to keep momentum on the market during the period that they are ordering their own series production units.
The automated composites manufacturing facility of NLR is equipped with a wide variety of state of the art machines and includes among others: a braiding machine, a fibre placement machine, a pick&Place generic robot cell, several resin injection machines, an autoclave, alarge curing oven, a heated press and thermal analyses equipment. Both thermosets and thermoplastic materials can be processed in this facility.
The materials testing and inspection facility of NLR is a 'one-stop shop' where materials, chemical, metallurgical, mechanical testing, NDI and analytical experts will guide the customer through the entire testing process. The combination of up-to-date equipment together with years of hands-on experience ensures a proper solution for the testing matter.
Facilities among other included equipment for static and dynamic testing form small coupon level to full scale component level.