Swiss firm Ruag Space has developed an automated process for placement of inserts into composite sandwich panels used in satellites. A typical communication satellite has more than 2,500 inserts. Up until now, the space industry has been using manual processes to place these inserts.
Developed in partnership with the University of Applied Sciences & Arts NW-Switzerland, the new process requires less potting compound to glue the insert into the panel, which results in less launching mass. In the design of spacecraft structures, weight and stiffness are critical parameters and, as a result, composite sandwich panels are often used.