OC Robotics is working with aerospace partners, focused on aircraft assembly, to develop a comprehensive toolkit for low access assembly tasks.
1. The confined space
The Airbus wing box. Access through a small opening makes the job of inspecting, swaging and sealing inside the wing box impracticable by an ordinary robot.
2. The solution
Snake-arm robots in action
Snake-arm robots can follow a path into the wing-box, either by joystick control or from a pre-determined library of paths. The arm can then move in 'Cartesian mode' either by joystick control or automatically using visual servoing to ensure it is correctly aligned before beginning each task. When applying sealant, for example, a camera on the toolpiece tracks the line of the seam.
Snake-arm robots are the delivery mechanisms. Designing tools and sensors for confined spaces often involves miniaturising existing designs and sometimes requires a complete rethink. We have a team dedicated to tool design and process development. Standard tools include video cameras and lighting packages. We have delivered solutions for welding, grasping and cutting and have mock-up facilities for development activities.
Tools designed by OC Robotics specifically for aerospace applications are inspection, swaging and sealant tools.