Aerospace & Defense Technology - May 2022 - 20

Robotic Aircraft Maintenance
The triflex®
A depainting process involving robots improves safety by reducing the risk of
exposure to toxic chemicals. (Photo: Courtesy of Titan Robotics)
In two-robot full aircraft systems, one
robot is positioned on each side of the
aircraft, and LiDAR sensors - sometimes
called 3-D laser scanning - convey
detailed information about the airplane
part under scrutiny. The robot will carefully
apply the proper amount of laser
pressure to remove the paint. The robots
start with a rough outline of the plane,
and then with the LiDAR sensors map
the three-dimensional topography of the
plane. LiDAR, which stands for light
detection and arranging, is widely used
in the autonomous vehicle market.
While similar to radar, LiDAR uses laser
light instead of bouncing radio waves to
record measurements.
The robots are monitored by workers
in a control room to ensure the process
goes smoothly. Workers are not exposed
to the chemicals generated by depainting.
" It's really about safety,'' Klinger
said. " They're really just being the supervisor
of the system, making sure it's
doing what it's supposed to be doing. "
Software Solutions
Titan Robotics works in software
development, unlike a traditional robotic
integrator. Titan's robotic systems use
the latest sensor technologies to analyze
complex surfaces for data collection.
Applications include 3-D scanning,
non-contact thickness measurement
and other inspection tasks.
Automated laser paint removal can be
applied to any surface, regardless of
complexity. The process also allows for
the adaption to other surface treatments
such as painting and sanding.
20
Critical Cabling
Among the most distinctive features
of the automated assemblies are cable
carriers that contain an assortment of
mobilityengineeringtech.com
ADT Feature 4 - Robotic Aircraft Maintenance 0522_1.indd 20
Intro
Cov
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cable system from igus®
provides the capability to handle the
weight of heavy cables while allowing the robots to deliver utilities to the point
of use. (Photo: Courtesy of Titan Robotics)
" We add more complexity and software
control on to typical development
of automated solutions,'' Klinger said.
" With our software, the robots figure
out where the plane is, how much paint
is on the plane, what type of paint, and
how to burn the paint off. And then
once they know what they need to do,
we plan how to move the robot over the
surface to do that. "
The process needs to occur with
extreme care. The planes are quite costly
- one fighter jet can cost more than
$130 million - and retaining the structural
integrity of the plane is of foremost
concern. Robots need to carefully
monitor themselves during the laser
removal process to ensure they do not
damage the plane. Depainting too
aggressively could lead to disastrous
consequences when the plane returns
to military duty.
" There is a tremendous amount of
rigor on our side for our control systems
and our robotics in making sure that
we're not hitting the aircraft, and making
sure that our laser processes are not
damaging the aircraft. Our control system
has a ton of protections in place for
that, and it is all based on fundamental
research that was done for the past 35
years. Every time we bring in a new aircraft
or material, you go through the
process again to learn the limits that we
have to meet. "
connections. Electrical cables, hoses,
laser fibers and utilities are among the
connections in the carrier. Manufactured
by igus®
, the triflex®
system holds
up to 16 cables that are used by the
robots to remove paint from the plane.
" It is all about delivering utilities to
the point of use,'' Klinger said. " It is a
laser depainting system. But we also
have systems that do sanding, machining,
inspection, and x-rays. All of those
have the exact same problem, which is
getting those utilities to the point of
use. It's important that we know where
those cables are, know that they are protected,
and not worry about them getting
snagged on something. "
The primary advantage of triflex®
is
the capability to handle the weight and
protect the cables. " The weight and the
volume are substantial,'' Klinger said. " I
think it's 12-to-16 distinct cables and
they can be held very nicely. For us, it's
all about having confidence in those
cables. We know the product will contain
them, will limit how they bend and
it will hold them exactly where we want
them to for the entire time. "
The other advantage of triflex®
is the
range of motion. " It can hold the cables,
but it also has a three-degree freedom of
movement,'' Klinger said. " A lot of cable
chains move in a two-dimensional
space, not a three-dimensional space.
When you get to complex motions,
where a robot is working in three-dimensional
space, we need a flexible link
that can contain the cables while the
robot operates with six degrees of freedom.
Triflex®
can do that. "
Aerospace & Defense Technology, May 2022
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Aerospace & Defense Technology - May 2022

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Aerospace & Defense Technology - May 2022

Aerospace & Defense Technology - May 2022 - Intro
Aerospace & Defense Technology - May 2022 - Cov 4
Aerospace & Defense Technology - May 2022 - Cov 1
Aerospace & Defense Technology - May 2022 - Cov 2
Aerospace & Defense Technology - May 2022 - 1
Aerospace & Defense Technology - May 2022 - 2
Aerospace & Defense Technology - May 2022 - 3
Aerospace & Defense Technology - May 2022 - 4
Aerospace & Defense Technology - May 2022 - 5
Aerospace & Defense Technology - May 2022 - 6
Aerospace & Defense Technology - May 2022 - 7
Aerospace & Defense Technology - May 2022 - 8
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Aerospace & Defense Technology - May 2022 - 48
Aerospace & Defense Technology - May 2022 - Cov 3
Aerospace & Defense Technology - May 2022 - Cov 4
https://www.nxtbook.com/smg/techbriefs/22ADT10
https://www.nxtbook.com/smg/techbriefs/22ADT09
https://www.nxtbook.com/smg/techbriefs/22ADT08
https://www.nxtbook.com/smg/techbriefs/22ADT06
https://www.nxtbook.com/smg/techbriefs/22ADT05
https://www.nxtbook.com/smg/techbriefs/22ADT04
https://www.nxtbook.com/smg/techbriefs/22ADT02
https://www.nxtbook.com/smg/techbriefs/21ADT12
https://www.nxtbook.com/smg/techbriefs/21ADT10
https://www.nxtbook.com/smg/techbriefs/21ADT09
https://www.nxtbook.com/smg/techbriefs/21ADT08
https://www.nxtbook.com/smg/techbriefs/21ADT06
https://www.nxtbook.com/smg/techbriefs/21ADT05
https://www.nxtbook.com/smg/techbriefs/21ADT04
https://www.nxtbook.com/smg/techbriefs/21ADT02
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