Layup end effectors with tactile sensing capabilities

Michael Elkington, Carwyn Ward, Ben Ward-Cherrier, Nathan Lepora, Nicholas Pestell, Evan Almas

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference Contribution (Conference Proceeding)


In this work a tactile sensor is used to identify a range of common defects which can occur during the manufacture of composite materials. The Hand layup manufacturing method remains popular within the composites industry. One of key reasons for this is that the workers can use tactile feedback from their fingers in order to constantly monitor and adapt their actions to avoid defects. In this work a novel tactile senor is used to replicate this in an automated environment. It consists of a deformable membrane with multiple pins on the inner surface. When the sensor makes contact with a surface the membrane deforms and the subsequent movement of the pins is recorded by a camera. Image analysis combined with statistical data processing converts the video into a functional tactile sensor. In this study it is demonstrated successfully detecting defects such as ply drops, wrinkles bridging and foreign objects.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 4th Symposium on Automated Composite Manufacturing
EditorsSuong V. Hoa
PublisherConcordia University Press
Publication statusPublished - 26 Apr 2019


  • Quality control
  • Non-destructive testing
  • Defects
  • Wrinkling
  • Quality assurance


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