Measuring the required wall thickness of CFRP car parts using an inductive sensor
Carbon fiber reinforced plastic (CFRP) offers significant benefits for modern automotive manufacturing: it is much lighter than metal, it cushions vibrations more effectively, and it is not corrosive. Automated automotive manufacturing using CFRP structures has one drawback though. Production conditions are harsh: the pressure is 80 bar, temperatures reach 125 °C, and CFRP materials are conductive. This why it was not possible to determine the thickness of CFRP mold components with sufficient quality. Until now. Micro-Epsilon has developed the inductive sensor induNCDT DT58 for one of the leading German automobile manufacturers for this specific purpose. The sensor is made from one piece within the measurement area. Extremely strong steel ensures that the sensor remains securely in position. In production the CFRP car parts are bonded and then compressed using RTM (resin transfer moulding). The required thickness of the finished component is determined through the distance between the upper and the lower mold of the RTM machine. Its internal structure facilitates flush installation of the induNCDT DT58 within the machine. This solution has helped to stabilize production processes and to improve quality.