What is the most popular use for robots in the aerospace sector?
An aircraft is basically a big Meccano kit and all it needs fitting together. Okay, it’s not just aluminum these days, as more carbon fibre materials are being used, but it all needs assembling. Which is why the drilling and fastening process in the manufacture of aircraft is vitally important.
If drilling is carried out manually and let's remember there are literally thousands of holes that need to be drilled, then first a pilot hole needs to be drilled, followed by the drilling of the correct size hole and finally, a reaming process. What’s more, the drilling has to use a complicated jig to ensure accuracy and powerful machines are needed, especially when coping with specialist alloys such as titanium. It's time consuming, expensive and prone to errors.
The great advantage with using robots for drilling, is that they don’t need to rely on a jig. They use sophisticated vision systems which allow them to ‘see’ where the hole needs to be drilled and the process can be completed in one pass, not three.
And if you consider the benefits of robot drilling, which aligns with a manufacturers need for always greater efficiency, cost savings and improved safety, it’s obvious why robot drillers are so popular.