Sponsored By

Satellite assembly automated with insert placement process

Swiss firm Ruag Space has developed an automated process for placement of inserts into composite sandwich panels used in satellites. A typical communication satellite has more than 2,500 inserts. Up until now, the space industry has been using manual processes to place these inserts.

May 6, 2015

1 Min Read
Satellite assembly automated with insert placement process

Swiss firm Ruag Space has developed an automated process for placement of inserts into composite sandwich panels used in satellites. A typical communication satellite has more than 2,500 inserts. Up until now, the space industry has been using manual processes to place these inserts.

Ruag_0.jpg

Satellite production highly automated using a new potting machine.

Developed in partnership with the University of Applied Sciences & Arts NW-Switzerland, the new process requires  less  potting compound to glue the insert into the panel, which results in less launching mass. In the design of spacecraft structures, weight and stiffness are critical parameters and, as a result, composite sandwich panels are often used.

RUAG's breakthrough innovation involves the insert itself, the process and a newly developed machine called the RUAG Automated Potting Machine (APM). The machine shapes the panel, drills the insert holes, applies the adhesive to the insert, places the insert into the panel and produces a final test report summarizing the relevant process parameters for every single insert. These activities were previously all accomplished in individual steps on different machines in different locations, involving significant manual labour.

This innovation significantly reduces the throughput time and total cost of composite sandwich panels, while it increases flexibility for customers to modify insert patterns late in the process. In addition, the automated process will eliminate the potential errors linked to manual processes and increase the precision of the insert location.

Photo:

Sign up for the PlasticsToday NewsFeed newsletter.

You May Also Like