Aerospace robotics is revolutionizing aerospace engineering with applications in welding, drilling, transportation, and inspection, and with predictions of significant sector growth, broader use of unmanned aerial vehicles, and the emergence of fully autonomous assembly lines in the future.
SwissCognitive Guest Blogger: Suchita Dey – “How Are Aerospace Robotics Redefining Innovation in Aerospace Engineering?”
There has been a rise in the use of automated processes in global production with the advent of Industry 4.0. Due to its dependability, precision, and other cutting-edge characteristics, aerospace robotics in particular is one of the most widely used production solutions today. It is frequently used in sectors like the automotive industry that deal with minute electronic components.
Robots do, however, offer the same benefits to sectors like aerospace engineering that deal with larger components more frequently.
In fact, a variety of applications for robot utilization have been expanding in the aerospace industry. Together with better and more consistent quality in manufacturing, they also provide lower prices, less labor, and faster output.
Industrial automation, particularly the utilization of robots, is increasingly a must in aeronautical engineering in the modern era of digital manufacturing.
The aerospace sector has particular difficulties. The fact that aircraft are normally in operation for decades while the technology required to produce them changes quickly presents a special difficulty in terms of robotic automation. With the need for ever-increasing productivity and efficient operations, robotic automation must constantly provide a competitive edge.
Robotics Innovation in Aerospace Domain
Industrial automation, such as the utilization of robots, is now required in aeronautical engineering in the modern era of digital manufacturing. Following are some typical tasks performed by robots in aerospace engineering.
Automation has been a major trend stoking the aircraft sector over the past few years. Almost every industry is noticing it, but aerospace is where it really shines. For instance, automated welding expedites production while increasing the safety of new airplanes.
Even for experienced workers, welding poses risks. Burns, radiation, electric shock, and gases are just a few of the threats that welders may encounter that could result in serious injury. One of the most typical objectives of automation is to reduce the risk that individuals are exposed to.
Robotic welding is becoming more and more common, especially for very accurate materials like nickel alloy or titanium. Robots can accomplish this while boosting production because they can repeat the same task without compromising quality. This expedites production, strengthens the structural integrity of new aircraft, and raises worker security at assembly locations.
Drilling and Fastening
Perhaps the most common use of aerospace robotics in the aerospace sector has been the drilling and fastening procedure. For assembly line workers, this is a difficult, protracted task that needs specialized tools and a number of processes to be correctly completed. All of that can be automated, greatly accelerating the manufacturing process. Aerospace robots are able to handle the entire process, from drilling the pilot hole to reaming, even with specialist materials like titanium.
Automating this procedure is a ground-breaking development in the industry given the enormous quantity of holes that must be drilled in airplane parts. As a result of the advantageous position, it has provided many aerospace businesses, and automated drilling and fastening are now the norms in the sector.
Large airplane components are transported from one area of an assembly facility to another, and this procedure is one area in which aerospace robotics is improving safety in the aerospace sector. Human workers may be at risk during this procedure, thus it calls for particular attention to prevent harm to other machinery or components. Because stress has been shown to increase the likelihood of human error, crane and rigging specialists may face significant levels of stress while performing their duties.
It makes sense that many aircraft firms are integrating automated transportation systems into their production lines. These hauling and rigging robots can now safely and autonomously move airplane parts while utilizing sophisticated sensors to look for people on the ground. This is a testament to how far aerospace robotics has come.
The development of sensor technology has been very rapid lately. From smartphone cameras that can accurately detect faces to infrared sensors that can track pulse rates, modern technology is increasingly surpassing the limitations of human senses.
By using sensors to increase the accuracy of their nondestructive testing, many aerospace businesses are utilizing this technology. Aerospace robotics, however, has the potential to significantly increase both the speed and precision of inspections. They may guarantee quality and integrity by painstakingly and methodically inspecting every square inch of components for cracks and other faults.
Other structural characteristics, such as the quality of the countersink and the exit burr, can also be scanned using sensors. Robotic systems capable of automatically performing inspection scans could be configured to operate during off-peak hours, much like the sealing, painting, and coating processes. In this manner, human workers may make the most of their daily schedules to take care of any problems the inspection robots detect.
The Future of Aerospace Robotics
The potential for expansion in the field of aerospace robotics is very promising. According to Extrapolate, the aerospace robotics industry is projected to reach USD 4.9 billion by 2028, recording a robust CAGR of 11.4% during the forecast period. Engineers and physicists imagining future aircraft have recognized unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) as a critical component. UAVs will also be used for non-military objectives. Since the global transportation industry is under increasing pressure, more public transportation solutions are urgently needed. UAVs, according to industry leaders, could be the answer.
The Aerospace Industries Association’s “Vision 2050” initiative highlighted the potential for broad UAV adoption. Around 2050, the AIA predicts that everyone may use completely autonomous flying “pods,” comparable to aerial taxis, to move around. Modern robotic aircraft could perhaps lower carbon emissions by reducing traffic on roads and trains.
Imagine having access to affordable, widely available, and renewable energy-powered UAVs for use in public transit. In that situation, many people might substitute them for conventional automobiles or buses in the future. They would be flown using AI, much like driverless cars do now.
Meanwhile, completely autonomous assembly lines are likely to start appearing in the industrial sector of the industry soon. The above-mentioned developments allude to this development, which would aid in addressing the current lack of private aircraft as well as the rising demand for aircraft as outlined by the AIA.
About the Author:
Suchita Dey is a tech enthusiast with her recent work covering domains of technology, innovation, and delivering what influences the industry landscape! She closely follows innovation in the AI-ML landscape and writes on what’s hot in the industry.