Four challenges for aerospace robots

The aerospace industry is a tough, exacting industry. Robot users and integrators face challenges such as increased human-robot collaboration and the constant demand for precision and efficiency.

By Robotic Industries Association (RIA) November 18, 2018

The aerospace industry has been an innovator in terms of automating the production process. The industry heavily relies on automation to create new sources of efficiency. Aerospace manufacturers need to keep productivity at peak levels due to large order backlogs. Also, integrators need to minimize disruptions and shorten integration times while maintaining strict quality standards. However, this is easier said than done. Robot users and integrators face many challenges in the aerospace industry.

Four challenges for aerospace robot users and integrators

  1. Large part sizes

The sheer size of aerospace parts, especially for airplane assembly, creates a number of challenges. It’s tough to bring the part to the process when the parts are so big, which requires extensive mobility for the robots. Mobile platforms, which allow the robot to move around a large part, has become a useful tool for manufacturers.

  1. Human and robot collaboration

The increasing levels of automation in the aerospace industry have brought humans and robots into closer contact on the factory floor. This creates major safety issues, which means users must be complaint with regulations to avoid fines and serious downtime.

  1. Precision results

The aerospace industry requires extremely precise production; there’s no room for error in the final products. However, precision has to be balanced with speed. To compensate, robots use a variety of vision or laser-based intelligent guiding systems to ensure consistency, accuracy, and productivity.

  1. Complex end effectors

Modern aerospace applications demand complex end effectors and ned to be very large for large part sizes. As a result, they often must complete very long cycle times with multiple functions, which means a single end effector must be able to perform a variety of tasks simultaneously. This can make tooling a difficult project for integrators.

The aerospace industry, one of the most difficult and demanding industries in manufacturing, will continue to look to robotic technology as a source of innovation.

This article originally appeared on the Robotics Online BlogRobotic Industries Association (RIA) is a part of the Association for Advancing Automation (A3), a CFE Media content partner. Edited by Chris Vavra, production editor, Control Engineering, CFE Media,

Robotic Industries Association (RIA)