Cost modelling for manufacturing of aerospace composites




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Cranfield University



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The application of composites has been increasing dramatically in aerospace structures recently, for example, composites have contributed over 50 percent of the structure mass of large transport airplanes Boeing 787 and Airbus 350XWB. However, the further usage has been restricted because of the high material and manufacturing costs. Hence, it is essential to utilize cost estimation tools for accurate cost estimation in the early design stages, and then efficient decisions and design optimizations could be made to reduce the cost of composite products. This research project aims to develop a cost model for aerospace carbon fibre reinforced plastic (CFRP) composites, which will help designers and cost engineers with the cost estimation for composites manufacturing in the early development stages. The main objectives of the research are to: (i) recognise the standard manufacturing stages and activities of CFRP components; (ii) identify the cost drivers of composites manufacturing; (iii) identify the cost estimation relationships; (iv) develop a cost model that can assist designers and engineers with manufacturing cost estimation for CFRP components; (v) validate the developed cost model through case studies and expert judgements. The process of model development was carried out through four main steps: firstly, conducting an integrated understanding of cost modelling for composites manufacturing; secondly, collecting data for cost modelling from industry and existing literature and databases; thirdly, developing the cost model with several function modules and databases; and finally, taking a validation of the developed model. The developed cost model consists of several modules: material selection, process planning, cost estimation, cost reporting and a user friendly interface. Moreover, the selection and planning modules are combined with databases including material and process. The developed model enables the user to estimate the manufacturing cost and process time of CFRP composites, and it can also help designers realize the impact of design changes on the manufacturing cost. The process planning can efficiently help estimators with manufacturing process understanding and accurate time estimation. Quality control activities are time consuming and investment sensitive in composites manufacturing.


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Cost Modelling, Cost Modelling, CFRP, Hand Lay-up, Hand Lay-up Testing, Aircraft



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