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Welcome to the Knowledge in Practice Centre (KPC). The KPC is a resource for learning and applying scientific knowledge to the practice of composites manufacturing. By clicking the links below, you can access the latest composites knowledge and best practices for different types of manufacturing and applications.

Want to learn more about how to navigate the KPC? Find more information at Level II.


Practice

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Systems Catalogue
Practice
Case Studies
Perspectives

Do you want to gain more information about the items in your factory, from material through to equipment? Are you in the market to purchase a piece of equipment and want to know more about the specifications? The Systems Catalogue volume lays all this out in a structured manner, with a link to CKN's Resource Directory included. Click here to explore the Catalogue volume.

Are you here to learn how to develop, optimize, or troubleshoot your manufacturing process? Defining the necessary process steps for your application can seem challenging. In addition to this, the factory layout must also be defined. The Practice volume provides guidance for practitioners to navigate the realm of composites manufacturing. Click here to explore the Practice volume.

Are you interested in seeing examples of the challenges and learning outcomes of composite manufacturing practice? The Case Studies volume provides real world situations where practitioners had to develop, optimize, or troubleshoot their manufacturing process(es). It ties in directly and provides context to the Practice volume. Click here to explore the Case Studies volume.

Would you like to learn from leading industry experts? The Perspectives volume contains links to videos, webinars, and other multimedia content delivered by industry professionals. Click here to explore the Perspectives volume.


Knowledge
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Introduction to composites
Foundational Knowledge
Systems Knowledge

Are you new to composite materials and/or manufacturing and would like to learn more? Would you like to learn more about the KPC framework for composites manufacturing? The Introduction to Composites volume provides background information on composite materials and processing. Additionally, a high-level breakdown of composite manufacturing into a systems-level approach is provided. Click here to explore the Introduction volume.

Would you like to gain a deeper understanding of the science behind composite materials and manufacturing? The Foundational Knowledge volume covers topics from material science through to processing science. Click here to explore the Foundational volume.

Would you like to learn more about how the components of a process interact? For example, what happens if you change the tooling in your system? Or what if you have a thick part? The Systems Knowledge volume covers the interaction between components and how these influence the outcomes of the part. It is laid out according to the KPC's framework for a system's level approach to composites manufacturing. Click here to explore the Systems Knowledge volume.

How to use the KPC[edit | edit source]

KPC Framework[edit | edit source]

The Knowledge in Practice Centre (KPC) is a subset of the Composites Knowledge Network (CKN) initiative intended to provide value to Canadian SMEs looking to expand their capabilities within the realm of composites engineering. The KPC follows a generalized framework for composites manufacturing, wherein manufacturing is examined using an object-oriented approach.

Volumes[edit | edit source]

The layout of the KPC is organized according to a systems-level hierarchical approach, containing seven different but interconnected volumes. These are: Introduction to Composites, Foundational Knowledge, Systems Knowledge, Systems Catalogue, Practice, Case Studies, and Perspectives. Conceptually, preceding these volumes is open literature representing fundamental knowledge. On the other end, proceeding these volumes are industrial documents, representing industrial best practice.

Introduction to CompositesFoundational KnowledgeSystems KnowledgeSystems CataloguePracticeCase StudiesPerspectives
KPC Layout


Approach[edit | edit source]

Link to systems approach to composite materials

Typically, composite manufacturing processes are named after one or more critical processing steps. This shorthand notation is often adopted to describe the process as a whole. What results from this is that each manufacturing process is often viewed as different from the other processes. This is not necessarily true, however. A process is not unique in the sense that it is fundamentally different from other manufacturing processes, rather a process is unique because of the arrangement of its process steps, inclusion/exclusion of specific steps, and/or differences in the equipment, tooling, shape, and material involved. Indeed many composite manufacturing processes contain very similar steps. For example, a thermoset RTM and autoclave prepreg process differ in their initial material state, requiring specific process steps and therefore different equipment. However, they both undergo the same general steps. Material is deposited on a tool, thermal energy is applied to cure the material, the material is taken off the tool, inspected, and then assembled into the final part. Therefore, describing all of a composite manufacturing workflow by a single process step does not capture the nuances of the entire workflow, and can even be constraining. More importantly, it discourages similarities between processes to be drawn. Such similarities are important in understanding how best to layout a factory.

A process is nothing more than a set of equipment and tooling used to perform a specific process step on the part or material. Therefore, the manufacturing workflow is dictated by the steps performed by equipment and tooling. Defining which steps to perform and which equipment and tooling to use is based on the material state and the part shape. In other words, it is the part and material that determine which process steps must be performed and which equipment/tooling can be used to perform them. The layout of these process steps are what define the manufacturing workflow.

The process steps must occur within a physical space in the factory. This is what is referred to as a factory cell. The part flows through the factory, taking shape with each successive process step it undergoes. Depending on the factory layout, there may be multiple process steps that occur within the same physical space (cell) in the factory.

To learn more about this approach, navigate to the link presented above or click here.

KPC Features[edit | edit source]

Levels of Detail[edit | edit source]

Each page of the KPC may be subdivided into different levels of detail, designated as "Level I", "Level II" and "Level III". You may see only two different levels, or you may see all three depending on the complexity of the subject being covered, and the current level of detail of that page. The idea behind the different levels is to provide you with the most appropriate experience for navigating the KPC based on your preference. If you'd just like to gain a broad understanding of a particular subject, level I might be the most appropriate. On the other hand, if you are very interested in the fine details of a subject, level III may be best for you; or you may just switch between them to simultaneously develop a strong high level understanding (level I) while filling in the important details (level III). In general, the different levels can be described as:

  • Level I is suitable for those new to composites who would like to navigate through the site and learn about composites processing at the highest level. The same concepts covered in the other levels are discussed, but without the focus on the minutiae. It is most appropriate for users who wish to build an understanding of composites manufacturing and become aware of the intricacies involved while analyzing problems based on what they see and observe in the process.
  • Level II is appropriate for those who would like to develop their understanding of composites manufacturing at a greater level of detail and understand how to analyze problems using simple, convenient methods.
  • Level III is suitable for those who wish to master their understanding of composites manufacturing and understand how to analyze problems at the highest level of detail for the most complex problems.

Content[edit | edit source]

Practice[edit | edit source]

Systems Catalogue[edit | edit source]

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Do you want to gain more information about the items in your factory, from material through to equipment? Are you in the market to purchase a piece of equipment and want to know more about the specifications? The Systems Catalogue volume lays all this out in a structured manner, with a link to CKN's Resource Directory included. Click here to explore the Catalogue volume.

Practice[edit | edit source]

PracticeLevel1 Icon-JJBnrDwmVS9r.svg
Are you here to learn how to develop, optimize, or troubleshoot your manufacturing process? Defining the necessary process steps for your application can seem challenging. In addition to this, the factory layout must also be defined. The Practice volume provides guidance for practitioners to navigate the realm of composites manufacturing. Click here to explore the Practice volume.

Case Studies[edit | edit source]

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Are you interested in seeing examples of the challenges and learning outcomes of composite manufacturing practice? The Case Studies volume provides real world situations where practitioners had to develop, optimize, or troubleshoot their manufacturing process(es). It ties in directly and provides context to the Practice volume. Click here to explore the Case Studies volume.

Perspectives[edit | edit source]

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Would you like to learn from leading industry experts? The Perspectives volume contains links to videos, webinars, and other multimedia content delivered by industry professionals. Click here to explore the Perspectives volume.

Knowledge[edit | edit source]

Introduction to Composites[edit | edit source]

IntroLevel1 Icon-JJBnrDwmVS9r.svg
Are you new to composite materials and/or manufacturing and would like to learn more? Would you like to learn more about the KPC framework for composites manufacturing? The Introduction to Composites volume provides background information on composite materials and processing. Additionally, a high-level breakdown of composite manufacturing into a systems-level approach is provided. Click here to explore the Introduction volume.

Foundational Knowledge[edit | edit source]

FoundationalLevel1 Icon-JJBnrDwmVS9r.svg
Would you like to gain a deeper understanding of the science behind composite materials and manufacturing? The Foundational Knowledge volume covers topics from material science through to processing science. Click here to explore the Foundational volume.

Systems Knowledge[edit | edit source]

SystemsKnowledgeLevel1 Icon-JJBnrDwmVS9r.svg
Would you like to learn more about how the components of a process interact? For example, what happens if you change the tooling in your system? Or what if you have a thick part? The Systems Knowledge volume covers the interaction between components and how these influence the outcomes of the part. It is laid out according to the KPC's framework for a system's level approach to composites manufacturing. Click here to explore the Systems Knowledge volume.



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About Help
CKN KPC logo

Welcome

Welcome to the CKN Knowledge in Practice Centre (KPC). The KPC is a resource for learning and applying scientific knowledge to the practice of composites manufacturing. As you navigate around the KPC, refer back to the information on this right-hand pane as a resource for understanding the intricacies of composites processing and why the KPC is laid out in the way that it is. The following video explains the KPC approach:

Understanding Composites Processing

The Knowledge in Practice Centre (KPC) is centered around a structured method of thinking about composite material manufacturing. From the top down, the heirarchy consists of:

The way that the material, shape, tooling & consumables and equipment (abbreviated as MSTE) interact with each other during a process step is critical to the outcome of the manufacturing step, and ultimately critical to the quality of the finished part. The interactions between MSTE during a process step can be numerous and complex, but the Knowledge in Practice Centre aims to make you aware of these interactions, understand how one parameter affects another, and understand how to analyze the problem using a systems based approach. Using this approach, the factory can then be developed with a complete understanding and control of all interactions.

The relationship between material, shape, tooling & consumables and equipment during a process step


Interrelationship of Function, Shape, Material & Process

Design for manufacturing is critical to ensuring the producibility of a part. Trouble arises when it is considered too late or not at all in the design process. Conversely, process design (controlling the interactions between shape, material, tooling & consumables and equipment to achieve a desired outcome) must always consider the shape and material of the part. Ashby has developed and popularized the approach linking design (function) to the choice of material and shape, which influence the process selected and vice versa, as shown below:

The relationship between function, material, shape and process


Within the Knowledge in Practice Centre the same methodology is applied but the process is more fully defined by also explicitly calling out the equipment and tooling & consumables. Note that in common usage, a process which consists of many steps can be arbitrarily defined by just one step, e.g. "spray-up". Though convenient, this can be misleading.

The relationship between function, material, shape and process consisting of Equipment and Tooling and consumables


Workflows

The KPC's Practice and Case Study volumes consist of three types of workflows:

  • Development - Analyzing the interactions between MSTE in the process steps to make decisions on processing parameters and understanding how the process steps and factory cells fit within the factory.
  • Troubleshooting - Guiding you to possible causes of processing issues affecting either cost, rate or quality and directing you to the most appropriate development workflow to improve the process
  • Optimization - An expansion on the development workflows where a larger number of options are considered to achieve the best mixture of cost, rate & quality for your application.