Northrop Grumman Auto Abrader
Precision abrasion, effortless efficiency
Our sponsor, Northrop Grumman, uses carbon fiber strips as the structural framework for their telescoping booms and solar cell arrays. These long rectangular strips have to be abraded before being joined together with epoxy, as abrasion significantly increases adhesive properties. The current operation consists of technicians manually abrading the carbon fiber with Scotchbrite pads which is tedious and labor intensive, and it results in inconsistent wear across the carbon fibers.
Currently, there are thousands of carbon fiber strips that need to be abraded. There is also no quantitative metric for how much abrasion needs to occur. Our automated design will make the abrasion process very easy to perform, it will be a simple one step process to load the strips. Our feeding system will guide the strips to a double abrasion wheel system that will abrade both sides of the carbon fiber. We plan to make our final product simple to operate and repair. Our design will not only provide consistency and accuracy in wear across the carbon fiber strips but more importantly, it will allow for a hands-free operation and improve operation performance seen as time and money spent.