Press Release: NERO PROJECT
NERO will develop advanced monitoring systems based on non-invasive embedded sensors, which allow to carry out manufacturing and repairing processes of more efficient and environmentally sustainable composite material structures, and which, in turn, provide information on structural behaviour during life in service of manufactured structures.
NERO initiative arises from the need to control and monitor the manufacturing and repairing processes, as well as the service life of structures produced in composite materials, an area in full expansion and which has been experiencing rapid growth in recent years.
Composite materials are currently considered as one of the strategic materials in the manufacturing processes of the future, due to the high functional impact and weight reduction that they provide in a wide range of sectors. In this way, the monitoring systems which will be developed in the project will help to overcome some of the main barriers to the introduction of these materials in the industrial environment, such as high resource consumption, low automation rates, and high rejection percentage, which significantly increase production costs.
Based on these antecedents, NERO Project will be developed, through ad hoc monitoring techniques based on fiber optic sensors and ion mobility, monitoring and control systems for composite manufacturing and repairing processes in different use cases and industrial sectors of relevance in Galicia, in which composite materials are used intensively: boat manufacturing (naval sector), manufacture of liquid storage tanks (chemical sector) and repairing of wind blades (renewable energy sector). In addition, a system for monitoring the in-service structural behaviour of storage tanks will be designed to detect leaks, through the design of an alert system.
The expected results of the NERO Project are:
- to establish a robust correlation between the fundamental parameters of the manufacturing processes of composite materials and the signals obtained with the fiber optic and ion mobility sensors, which allows to measure accurately the arrival and degree of cure of the resin.
- to develop a specific monitoring software based on the correlation of sensor signals with critical manufacturing /repairing points, to have online information on manufacturing processes and in-service behavior of manufactured components.
- to characterise the composite material with embedded sensors and correlate the signals of the fiber optic sensors with the phenomenon that is occurring in the material, in order to detect microdeformations that take place in the material to monitor its behavior in service, and to be able to create an alert system to detect leaks.
- to generate and alert system for the detection of leak in storage tanks by analyzing and interpreting the signals through supervised learning techniques using Machine Learning algorithms.
- to save a 10% in the total costs of subcomponents manufacturing for boats and repair of paddles, and a 20% in the manufacture of storage tanks for corrosive chemicals.
- to save a 15% of energy consumption and to reduce the emmission of volatile organic compounds, as well as to reduce the waste material by up to a 20% in the boat manufacturing and paddle repair processes.
- to save a 30% of energy consumption and to reduce the emission of volatiles, as well as to reduce the waste material by up to a 40% in the manufacturing processes of storage tanks.
To face this ambitious challenge, a multisectoral consortium of Galician companies, all of them SMEs, has been consolidated with the complementary capacities and knowledge necessary to cover the entire value chain of the project:
GALVENTUS SERVICIOS EÓLICOS
Leader of the consortium, with extensive experience in inspection processes, maintenance, repair and expertise of parts made of composite materials in the wild sector and who, in the scope of the project, will be the final user of the monitoring system for the repair of wind blades.
Shipyard that manufactures and repairs composite vessels of different types (fishing boats, aquaculture aids) and final user of the NERO monitoring system for the manufacture of boats.
Pioneer company in the manufacture of fiberglass-reinforced polyester products, reinforced plastics and thermoformed products, and final user of the monitoring system in manufacturing and service behavior of liquid storage tanks.
Company specialised in the manufacture and distribution of all kinds of products related to the composites sector and which will contribute its know-how in the behavior and monitoring of these materials.
Engineering specialised in the treatment of data from sensor systems or the development of real-time supervision platforms, for numerous sectors, which will be in charge of integrating the control software into the monitoring systems.
The consortium counts with the collaboration of AIMEN Technology Centre, a centre specialised in the design, characterization and development of high-performance materials, as well as in the development of sensor systems and data processing for advanced manufacturing processes.
NERO Project, framed in the CONECTAPEME 2018 PROGRAMME, it is financed by the Xunta de Galicia through the Galician Innovation Agency (GAIN) and it has the support of the Ministry of Economy, Employment and Industry and it is cofinanced by FEDER funds in the framework of axis 1 of the operational Feder Galician Programme 2014-2020.