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NLR develops innovative and turnkey solutions for the complex challenges faced by the aerospace industry. The operation covers the whole spectrum of research, development, testing and evaluation, from validation and verification to eligibility, simulation and follow-up. NLR bridges the gap between research and practical applications, and works for both private and public sectors in the Netherlands and abroad.
“On some aircraft models, the main landing gear has a brace made of carbon fibre. The fibres are woven onto this brace using the braiding machine you see behind X-Guard’s plastic walls.
Only prototype manufacturing takes place of carbon fibre braces. The braiding machine is used only for product development. NLR builds and tests aerospace products together with manufacturers like Fokker, Boeing, Airbus and Lockheed Martin.”
“The NLR laboratory operates according to the cleanroom air flow principle, with low levels of dust, airborne particles and chemicals. This is why we chose X-Guard plastic walls to attract as little dust as possible. The walls also come into their own when the customer wants to check their product in the laboratory because they give a free view – and a clean and exclusive impression as an added bonus.
The machine guard is 2300 mm in height, but the customer chose a lower height (1400 mm) in front of the machine to give a better view of the project and braiding process. The posts are 50x50 in standard yellow (RAL 1018). In front of the machine we also put a door equipped with a hitch lock.”
“The braiding machine will be operated by a single person well-versed in the risks involved with the machine. This is one of the reasons the customer chose not to equip the front doors with a breaker.
As I mentioned earlier, the carbon fibre products will be managed by hand in the first machine cell (the braiding machine). The second cell has several different fully automated processes. First a robot is picking up plies cut out of a carbon fibre weave by a cutting machine and stacking them together. Secondly a infrared heater is used to vacuum form these carbon fibre preforms to the desired shape. This seemingly simple process gives the carbon fibre great durability.”
“The NLR project was divided into two stages. Stage one was to secure the robot cell with the help of X-Guard. When everything was commissioned and fully functioning, the braiding machine was secured. The whole project took a total of three days to assemble.”
Netherlands Aerospace Center (NLR) is a market leading centre for aerospace research. The company has its roots in the Netherlands, but operates worldwide. NLR’s mission is to contribute to making air traffic even safer, more efficient and sustainable in the Netherlands, the rest of Europe and around the world.