Real time defect detection during composite layup via Tactile Shape Sensing

Michael P Elkington*, Even Alma, Ben Ward-Cherrier, Nicholas J Pestell, John A Lloyd, Carwyn Ward, Nathan F Lepora

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)
145 Downloads (Pure)


In this study an automated composite layup end effector is presented which is the first to be able to find defects in real time during layup using tactile shape sensing. Based around an existing sensor concept developed by the Bristol Robot Laboratory known as the ‘TacTip’, a new end effector is developed, replacing the soft gel core of the original sensor was replaced by a much firmer elastomer, enabling it to apply up to 400N of compaction force. In this paper it is shown to successfully detect typical defects such as wrinkles, foreign objects, layup errors or incorrect material types while simultaneously compacting preimpregnated composite materials over complex mould shapes.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-10
Number of pages10
JournalScience and Engineering of Composite Materials
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 29 Jan 2021

Structured keywords

  • Bristol Composites Institute ACCIS


  • Prepreg
  • Carbon Fibre
  • Wrinkle
  • Bridge
  • Foreign Object
  • TacTip


Dive into the research topics of 'Real time defect detection during composite layup via Tactile Shape Sensing'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this