Editorial Feature

Robotic Assembly: The Future of Aerospace Manufacturing

Robotic assembly in aerospace manufacturing is a popular process as it can offer increased safety, improved quality, and reduced production costs. This article provides an overview of robotic assembly, its importance, and how it is used in aerospace manufacturing.

Robotic Assembly: The Future of Aerospace Manufacturing

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What is Robotic Assembly?

Robotic assembly involves the use of robots in the manufacturing process to perform repetitive and complex tasks. It has become increasingly popular in industries where precision, accuracy, and speed are crucial, such as aerospace manufacturing. In recent years, advancements in robotics have revolutionized the way we think about manufacturing.

Robotic assembly can perform tasks that are too dangerous or difficult for human workers to perform. It can also perform tasks with greater accuracy and precision, resulting in a higher-quality end product.

Robotic assembly systems consist of robotic arms, controllers, sensors, and end effectors. These systems are programmed to perform specific tasks, such as welding, drilling, or screwing, with a high degree of accuracy. The use of robots in manufacturing is not a new concept, but recent advancements in technology have made it possible to use robots in more complex manufacturing tasks.

Use of Robotic Assembly in Aerospace Manufacturing

The aerospace industry has always been at the forefront of technological advancements, and the use of robotic assembly is no exception. Aerospace manufacturing requires a high degree of precision, and the use of robots can help to ensure that the final product meets the required specifications.

Robots can perform tasks such as drilling, fastening, and painting with a higher degree of accuracy and consistency than human workers. Robotic assembly in aerospace manufacturing also offers improved safety. There are many tasks involved in aerospace manufacturing that can be dangerous for human workers. Robots can perform these tasks with minimal risk of injury, reducing the risk of accidents in the workplace.

In addition to increased safety and quality, robotic assembly can also reduce production costs. Robots can work continuously without breaks, reducing the amount of time required to complete a task. This can lead to faster production times and reduced labor costs. Robots can also perform tasks with a high degree of accuracy, reducing the amount of waste produced during the manufacturing process.

However, there are some disadvantages to using robotic assembly in aerospace manufacturing. The initial cost of purchasing and installing robotic systems can be expensive. Additionally, robotic systems require maintenance and programming, which can add to the overall cost of the manufacturing process. There is also a concern that using robots may lead to job loss in the manufacturing industry.

Robotic Assembly in Aerospace Manufacturing: Commercial Examples

Several companies and research groups are currently working on utilizing robotic assembly in aerospace manufacturing.

One such company is Boeing. Boeing uses robots to perform tasks such as drilling and riveting on their aircraft. They have also developed a robotic system called the "Flex-track" system, which can perform a wide range of tasks such as drilling, fastening, and painting. The system consists of multiple robots that work together to perform tasks on large aircraft parts.

Airbus is another company that has adopted the use of robots in their manufacturing process. They use robots to perform tasks such as drilling and milling on their aircraft. Airbus has also developed a robotic system called the "Futura" system, which can perform complex tasks such as drilling and inspection. The system consists of a robot arm with a variety of end effectors, allowing it to perform a wide range of tasks.

In addition to these large aerospace companies, there are also many smaller companies and research groups working on the use of robotic assembly in aerospace manufacturing. For example, a research group at the University of Sheffield in the UK is working on the development of a robotic system for the inspection of aircraft parts. The system uses a combination of robots and sensors to perform non-destructive testing of aircraft parts.

Conclusion and Future Perspective

As technology continues to advance, the capabilities of robotic systems will continue to improve. This will lead to more complex tasks being performed by robots, resulting in increased efficiency and reduced production costs.

One area where the use of robots in aerospace manufacturing is expected to grow is the production of composite materials. Composite materials are becoming increasingly popular in aerospace manufacturing due to their strength and lightweight properties.

However, producing composite materials is a complex process that requires a high degree of precision. Robots are well-suited to perform these tasks, and as a result, the use of robots in the production of composite materials is expected to increase in the coming years.

Another area where the use of robots in aerospace manufacturing is expected to grow is space exploration. As space exploration becomes more advanced, the need for specialized equipment and technology will increase. Robots will be essential in the development and production of this technology, as they can perform tasks that would be too dangerous or difficult for human workers to perform.

In conclusion, robotic assembly in aerospace manufacturing offers many advantages, including increased safety, improved quality, and reduced production costs. Several large aerospace companies and research groups are already using robotic assembly in their manufacturing process, and the prospects for applying robots to aerospace manufacturing are promising.

Commercial Drones: The Challenges Facing the Aerospace Industry.

References and Further Reading

Airbus. (2021). Robots at work! Airbus fully automates solar array production. From https://www.airbus.com/en/newsroom/news/2021-07-robots-at-work-airbus-fully-automates-solar-array-production

Anandan, T. M. (2016, February 18). Aerospace Manufacturing on Board with Robots. From Association for Advancing Automation: https://www.automate.org/industry-insights/aerospace-manufacturing-on-board-with-robots

Ejim, E. (2023, April 29). What Is Robotic Assembly? From About Mechanics: https://www.aboutmechanics.com/what-is-robotic-assembly.htm

Richardson, M. (2023, April 18). AMRC co-pilots Future Air Support with BAE Systems. From Aerospace Manufacturing: https://www.aero-mag.com/amrc-co-pilots-future-air-support-with-bae-systems

Thompson, P., Hartmann, J., Feikert, E., & Buttrick, J. (2005). Flex Track for use in Production. Electroimpact. From https://www.electroimpact.com/WhitePapers/2005-01-3318.pdf

Disclaimer: The views expressed here are those of the author expressed in their private capacity and do not necessarily represent the views of AZoM.com Limited T/A AZoNetwork the owner and operator of this website. This disclaimer forms part of the Terms and conditions of use of this website.

Hussain Ahmed

Written by

Hussain Ahmed

Hussain graduated from Institute of Space Technology, Islamabad with Bachelors in Aerospace Engineering. During his studies, he worked on several research projects related to Aerospace Materials & Structures, Computational Fluid Dynamics, Nano-technology & Robotics. After graduating, he has been working as a freelance Aerospace Engineering consultant. He developed an interest in technical writing during sophomore year of his B.S degree and has wrote several research articles in different publications. During his free time, he enjoys writing poetry, watching movies and playing Football.

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