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Improved Tow-End Detection for Fiber Placement Inspection Using Machine Learning



A machine learning approach to improve the detection of tow ends for automated inspection of fiber-placed composites is presented. Automated inspection systems for automated fiber placement processes have been introduced to reduce the time it takes to inspect plies after they are laid down. The existing system uses image data from ply boundaries and a contrast-based algorithm to locate the tow ends in these images. This system fails to recognize approximately 10% of the tow ends, which are then presented to the operator for manual review, taking up precious time in the production process. An improved tow end detection algorithm based on machine learning is developed through a research project with the Boeing Advanced Research Center (BARC) at the University of Washington. This presentation shows the preprocessing, neural network and post‐processing steps implemented in the algorithm, and the results achieved with the machine learning algorithm. The machine learning algorithm resulted in a 90% reduction in the number of undetected tows compared to the existing system.


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