What Role Will AI Play in the Future of Industrial Composites

ai industrial composites

Artificial intelligence (AI) is everywhere these days. It is by no means new, but bringing AI into the public eye with things like ChatGPT and Microsoft Copilot made us all aware of the technology’s potential. It now seems to be shaping everything we know in the modern world. AI is certainly playing a role in how industrial composites are made.

That role will only continue to evolve as the industry moves forward. While AI will never completely replace human expertise, skill, and knowledge, it will contribute significantly to the industrial composites of the future. There are things we can do with AI that make us better composite manufacturers.

As we see it, there are three areas in composite manufacturing that can be made better with AI:

1. Material Development and Design

Industrial composites thrive on material design. As the industry moves into the future, designing new applications for our current materials will not be enough. We will have to develop new materials that make composites stronger, lighter, and tougher. AI will play a crucial role in that.

Through machine learning algorithms and generative models, our industry can use AI to develop brand new materials no one has ever used before. Using AI-driven design tools, we can experiment with all sorts of new materials in a virtual environment, learning some of the most critical information before the materials are ever put to a physical test.

AI will even help our industry predict optimal compositions and microstructures to ensure that the material selected for each project meets all mechanical, thermal, and strength specifications.

2. Manufacturing Optimization

We are especially excited about AI’s potential to help us optimize manufacturing processes. A good example lies in automated fiber placement (AFP). This particular process is incredible in terms of the results it produces. But it is time consuming, extremely difficult to get right, and requires years of training to master. As a result, AFP is also expensive.

AI can drastically reduce the time involved with AFP. AI-driven software can work faster than a human being and produce more consistent quality. The chances are pretty good that AI will completely revolutionize AFP in short order.

In addition, our industry can leverage AI algorithms for process monitoring, predictive maintenance, and insights that will allow us to automate certain manufacturing processes more effectively. Optimizing manufacturing will mean better quality, greater consistency, and cost-effective industrial composite solutions.

3. Quality Assurance

Although current quality assurance procedures do the job, there is always room for improvement. We see that improvement on the horizon as industrial composite manufacturers combine traditional techniques – like X-ray imaging – with AI tools to develop better microstructural analysis capabilities.

AI has the ability to capture data from advanced imaging, analyze that data for microstructural details, and make accurate assessments about a material’s mechanical properties. This will help us improve the quality of each of the materials we work with. But it gets better.

As data analysis and predictive models are added to the AI database, AI and machine learning tools will have more information to work with. As time goes on, their ability to improve quality will only increase. That is the beauty of AI. It thrives on data. The more data it produces, the better AI does its job.

Search engines are using AI to produce better results. Hospitals are turning to AI to create better treatments and diagnoses. Just about every industry is pursuing AI and machine learning, including industrial composites. There is little doubt that AI will play a vital role in the future of industrial composites around the world.

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