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CAMX 2020 exhibit preview: Wichita State University NIAR

Appears in Print as: 'R&D, workforce development facility'


WSU NIAR is presenting the Advanced Technologies Lab for Aerospace Systems (ATLAS), a facility focused on pioneering automated technologies in advanced manufacturing.
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CAMX 2020 Wichita State University

Source | WSU NIAR

Wichita State University (WSU, Wichita, Kan., U.S.) is presenting the Advanced Technologies Lab for Aerospace Systems (ATLAS), part of WSU’s National Institute for Aviation Research (NIAR), which is a new, $30 million facility focused on pioneering automated technologies in advanced manufacturing and inspection/testing.

Launched in 2019, ATLAS is a makerspace for automated fiber placement (AFP) and thermoplastics. According to WSU, ATLAS aids suppliers and entrepreneurs with new material testing and prototype development on industry-scale equipment, and allows them to make quick and efficient investment decisions. ATLAS machinery and equipment is accessible to all on a neutral territory, designed to accommodate multiple companies simultaneously in each of its individually secured sectors.

WSU NIAR CAMX 2020

Source | WSU NIAR

WSU says that ATLAS was founded because the aerospace industry is forecasted to need to produce 40,000 more aircraft over the next 20 years to meet global demand, while gradually retiring the current fleet of 26,000.  ATLAS researchers work closely with industry partners to develop customized solutions to increase efficiency, productivity and quality, in addition to exposing manufacturers to effective new technologies, WSU says.

WSU NIAR CAMX 2020

Source | WSU NIAR

ATLAS research on in-process inspection coupled with machine-learning algorithm and artificial intelligence will reportedly enable machines to produce higher-quality parts faster. The manufacturing processes in development, WSU adds, will enable production lines to become flexible enough to produce different types of urban air taxis and unmanned drones and customize them on-demand. ATLAS partners such as ElectroImpact and Coriolis have developed customized equipment such as AFP machines capable of manufacturing a single-aisle aircraft fuselage section with advanced materials, and a 4x8-meter autoclave – the largest of any university in the world – capable of heating materials up to 425°C with in-situ process monitoring with wireless temperature sensors, WSU says.

ATLAS also trains Wichita State engineering students while providing services to industry, providing a pipeline of industry-ready engineers with needed skills and experience. Workforce training programs are also being developed to enable companies to rapidly scale these new advanced manufacturing operations across multiple production lines. 

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