Honeycomb Panels on Demand

In a complex satellite sandwich panel more than 800 inserts can be found. RUAG Space is upfront in the automated insert placement
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In the design of spacecraft structures weight and stiffness are critical design parameters and as a result composite sandwich panels are often used. In a complex satellite sandwich panel more than 800 inserts (to mount equipment) can be found. A typical communication satellite has more than 5000 inserts. Up until now the space industry has been using manual processes to place these inserts.

With a revolutionary new and patent pending insert as well as with an Automated Potting Machine (APM) RUAG Space has been able to automate the process of insert placement into composite sandwich panels for satellites. As a result manufacturing time and costs can be reduced significantly.

RUAG Space sets the benchmark in delivery time for design to spec or design to print honeycomb panels.

Challenges Solutions
  • Spacecraft structures should be light and stable
  • Automated insert placement instead of manual processes
Technologies Customer Values
  • Automated Potting Machine
  • Quick delivery

SUCCESS STORY: One month less lead time

With an Automated Potting Machine (APM) and a new and patent pending insert RUAG Space has been able to automate the process of insert placement into composite sandwich panels for satellites. As a result the lead time will be reduced by one month, which saves around 1.3 Million US dollar.

Lower costs, less errors

Especially for large but also for small satellite panels the space industry is using composite sandwich panels as a standard. The RUAG Space innovation allows to reduce significantly the throughput time and total cost of composite sandwich panels, whilst at the same it increases flexibility for customers to modify insert patterns late in the process. In addition, the automated process will eliminate the potential for errors linked to manual processes and increase the precision of the insert location.

1. A general rule of thumb in satellite manufacturing is that each month of lead time reduction saves USD 1.3 Million. By using the APM the lead time can be reduced by at least one month.
2. A stable automated process with higher accuracies will reduce potential errors and savings can amount of up to USD 56,000 per satellite structure.
3. Every kilogram to be carried into space costs many thousand dollars; the exact amount depends on factors such as the carrier system and the orbit to be reached. However, six-figure sums and higher are not uncommon.

Automation instead of manual processes

In the design of spacecraft structures weight and stiffness are critical design parameters and as a result composite sandwich panels are often used. In one complex satellite sandwich panel more than 800 inserts (to mount equipment) can be found. A typical communication satellite has more than 5000 inserts. Up until now the space industry has been using manual processes to place these inserts.

In addition, the new process requires less potting compound to glue the insert into the panel resulting in less launch mass.