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Design and Analysis of a Novel Tension Control Method for Winding Machine

The filament winding technique has evolved in recent decades moving from classical lathe-type towards winding with an increased number of degrees of freedom using more complex equipment. These advancements complicate the selection of an optimum toroid winding machine set-up for the realization of particular winding methods and correlating part designs. This is further complicated by the variety of approaches. In order to investigate existing equipment technologies regarding feasibility, operational and economic aspects, different filament winding equipment is established in an experimental environment. Thereby advantageous solutions can be assigned to particular winding methods and the selection of appropriate filament winding equipment is facilitated.

Filament winding has emerged as the main process for carbon fiber reinforced plastic (CFRP) fabrication, and tension control plays a key role in enhancing the quality of the winding products. With the continuous improvement of product quality and efficiency, the precision of the tension control system is constantly improving. In this paper, a novel tension control method is proposed, which can regulate the fiber tension and transport speed of the winding process by governing the outputs of three different driven rollers (the torque of the unwind roll, the torque of the magnetic powder brake roller, and the speed of the master speed roller) in three levels. The mechanical structures and dynamic models of the driven rollers and idle rollers are established by considering the time-varying features of the roller radius and inertia. Moreover, the influence of parameters and speed variation on fiber tension is investigated using the increment model. Subsequently, the control method is proposed by applying fiber tension in three levels according to the features of the three driven rollers. An adaptive fuzzy controller is designed for tuning the PID parameters online to control the speed of the master speed roller. Simulation is conducted for verifying the performance and stability of the proposed tension control method by comparing with those of the conventional PID control method. The result reveals that the proposed method outperforms the conventional method. Finally, an experimental platform is constructed, and the proposed system is applied to a gear toroidal winding machine. The performance and stability of the tension control system are demonstrated via a series of experiments using carbon fiber under different reference speeds and tensions. This paper proposes a novel tension control method to regulate the fiber tension and transport speed.

High modulus carbon fiber is an excellent industrial material, which is widely used in several fields such as satellite supporting cylinder, shells of rocket engine, and solar array. The composite manufacturing process is the key to the application of carbon fiber. Filament winding has emerged as the main process for fabricating composite structures. It is widely used in building rotational parts. In the filament winding process, the carbon fiber is delivered from the unwind roll and passed through the resin bath to mix with resin under different temperatures and finally wrap around the surface of the mandrel in the designed pattern. The major specifications that should be satisfied during the winding process are the winding line type and the fiber tension, which are considered to be the key factors related to the tensile strength of the fiber products. The winding line type is determined using the numerical control system, so this paper focuses on the tension control problem during the winding process. Researchers have shown that unstable tension may lead to loss in strength of fiber winding products [1]. Therefore, fiber tension should be maintained at the reference value during the winding process for ensuring the product quality.

Several factors shape the tension control design to be challenging, which include significant parameter variations and disturbances. Small variations in the change of velocity of the transport rollers can cause significant variations in tension. On the other hand, we used different shapes of mandrels for maintaining the line speed in acceleration or deceleration states. Because of the coupling between the tension and the line speed, it is difficult to maintain the tension at a desired value. Researchers have investigated considerably for acquiring better control result. Lee et al. [2] used a magneto rheological brake to provide back tension to prevent frequent part changes and fatal malfunction for a tension control system, and a PID controller was designed, and test results showed the feasibility with satisfying the time constant and the allowable error. Nishida et al. [3] divided the transport system into several subsystems and a self-tuning PI controller with an estimator based on a novel adaptive particle swarm optimization method was constructed to solve the strong coupling between the velocity and tension of the web. A self-tuning PID controller to control the tension for tape winding of composites was designed and the constant extension ratio is guaranteed. To reduce the time required for the stabilization of the tension, a faststabilization method [4] for web tension is proposed. The model of dancer system and stabilization of web tension in drying process are established, and the variation of tension is used as a reference value for the tension stabilization. The integration of load cells and active dancer system for printed electronics applications was used to improve the accuracy of web tension, and self-adapting neural network control was proposed to reduce tension spikes due to the change in roll diameter of winder and unwinder rolls. Wu et al. [5] developed a tension detection and control mechanism and analyzed the main causes of wire tension variation, and then a PI algorithm was proposed to reduce tension variation. An accurate dynamic model for the unwind roll by considering the time variation of the roll inertia and radius was developed, and a decentralized controller for computing the equilibrium inputs for each driven roller was proposed [6]. A sliding mode control with guaranteed cost technique [7] was applied for reducing the system uncertainties. The simulation results showed that the proposed method had good robustness and quick response time. Compensation method [8] by calculating the torque of a driven loop lifter was developed to control the tension and thickness of hot-rolled strip. For the control strategy, several control methods have been proposed including disturbance rejection control [9,10,11,12], neuro-fuzzy control [13,14,15,16], and H∞ control [17,18,19]. Choi et al. [20] conducted a survey on various types of control algorithms by investigating their strengths and weaknesses, and demonstrated some areas of potential future development.

Most of the above studies considered the dynamics of driven rollers in the models but the behavior of idle rollers was ignored. Consequently, the models were under some limited conditions, which ignored detailed complex tension dynamics. On the other hand, most research focused on dynamic modeling and control strategy design, but the mechanical structure and the influence of parameter variation on fiber tension were ignored. In this paper, a novel tension control method is presented, which can regulate the tension and speed of the filament winding process. The mechanical structure and dynamic model of the system are established, and the influences of the parameter and the speed variation on fiber tension are examined. Subsequently, according to the features of driven rollers and the influence of variation, the control method is proposed by regulating the outputs of the torque of unwind roll, the torque of magnetic powder brake roller, and the speed of the master speed roller in three levels. Simulations are conducted for verifying the effect by comparing the results with those of the conventional PID controller. Finally, the performance of the proposed control system is verified through experimental studies using a filament slider coil winding machine.

The structure of the paper is organized as follows. Section 2 presents the mechanical structure of system. In addition, the dynamic models are constructed, and the influence of parameter and speed variation on the rollers is examined. In Section 3, the control strategy is proposed. Simulations are conducted for verifying the effect of the proposed controller by comparing with that of the conventional PID controller in Section 4. In Section 5, the proposed mechanical structure and control strategy are applied to a belt head winding machine, and the experimental study is conducted for verifying the performance of the tension control system.

The process line is divided into three zones (Figure 1): the unwind section, the process section, and the rewind section. In each zone, one or two rollers are driven using motors for transporting the carbon fiber from the unwind roll to the rewind roll. The carbon fiber is delivered from the unwind section to the process section, which consists of the magnetic powder brake roll, the master speed roller, and some idle rollers. In the process section, the carbon fiber passes through the surface of the master speed roller. As the carbon fiber is comprised of thousands of threads, the resin is properly pasted on the surface of the carbon fiber. The master speed roller is driven using an AC servomotor, and the speed is controlled for acquiring the desired speed and tension. The rewind section consists of a four-axis CNC system for acquiring the winding pattern.

The control method of hook type winding machine is shown in Figure 2 in three levels. The control system can regulate the tension and speed of the filament winding process by governing the output of three different driven rolls—the torque of the unwind roll, the torque of the magnetic powder brake roller, and the speed of the master speed roller. In the first level, the unwind roll, which is driven using a torque motor generates a reverse force for applying a pretension to the carbon fiber. The pretension is set at a small value because large tension will cause the tension to deviate from the set point owing to the time-varying radius and the disturbance caused by the periodic swing. In the second level, the magnetic powder brake generates another pretension to the carbon fiber. The feature of the magnetic powder brake is to generate torque in a wide range without introducing considerable tension interference. However, its disadvantage is that the accuracy and response speed are inadequate than the speed control using the AC servomotor. Finally, in the third level, as the tension is close to the set value, the master speed roller is controlled for acquiring the desired tension. On one hand, the speed of the master speed roller traces the line speed of the carbon fiber as the reference speed. On the other hand, the speed is adjusted for maintaining tension at a desired value. The response speed is high when the AC servomotor operates in the speed control mode. Consequently, when the line speed of the carbon fiber changes rapidly or in the start-time period, the master speed roller maintains tension in a small range. The control system measures the speed and tension of the carbon fiber, and then controls the multivariable output of the torque of the unwind roll, the torque of the magnetic powder brake roller, and speed of the master speed roller. The mechanical structure and dynamic modeling of the system is presented as follows.

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