SAM|XL (Delft, Netherlands) is a 2,000-square-meter joint research laboratory on the TU Delft campus (founded in 2018) that develops automation for intelligent manufacturing employing composites and other innovative materials. “There are a lot of centers that do composites with robots,” Kjelt van Rijswijk states, CEO of SAM|XL, “but most are based on offline programming. The industry needed a center for closed-loop manufacturing.”
A cross-faculty and multidisciplinary team from TU Delft is working on SAM|XL, as well as a specialized in-center team of composites, aerospace robotics, software, and mechatronics experts. Fiber placement and winding methods, 3D printer-based additive manufacturing, quality assurance (QA) and inspection, machining, surface finishing, and assembly procedures, such as thermoplastic composite welding, are investigated.
It works on three different sorts of projects:
- Promote adaptive manufacturing infrastructure -equipment that can compensate for changes in the manufacturing process in real-time without manual programming: mechatronics and robotics innovation, new algorithms, software tools.
- Proof of concept-fine-tuning of adaptive manufacturing equipment based on specific use cases in the industry.
- Establish knowledge dissemination and education projects for the future workforce.
SAM|XL is a non-profit organization supported by companies that have officially joined as Participants. They provide recommendations on the center’s strategic direction and technology roadmap, as well as make joint investments in its infrastructure. SAM|XL owns the infrastructure and makes it available, together with relevant expertise, for industrial and scientific projects. Suppliers that support SAM|XL in the creation and development of the infrastructure of the center are technology partners.
Collaborative engineering, open infrastructure
Van Rijswijk supports, “We continue to build our own team of engineers. We see that it is important to bridge contextual fields, such as aerospace and composites, with software, robotics, and mechatronics.” One of the primary goals, he continues, “is to have a toolbox of software that we can share and an open infrastructure, where we can tune these toolboxes and our infrastructure to achieve the special use cases for our projects.”