The aerospace industry has always been an innovator in terms of automation in the production process. Over the years, the industry has relied more and more heavily on automation to create new sources of efficiency and fend off fierce competition.
With huge order backlogs, aerospace manufacturers need to keep productivity at peak levels and integrators need to minimize disruptions and shorten integration times while maintaining strict quality standards.
4 Challenges for Aerospace Robots
There are plenty of challenges in the aerospace industry, especially for robot users and integrators. Today, some of the major challenges include the following.
- Large Part Sizes
The sheer size of aerospace parts, especially for airplane assembly, creates a number of challenges. Mainly, it’s tough to bring the part to the process when the parts are so big, which requires extensive mobility on the part of robots. This has taken the form of mobile platforms, so the robot can move around a large part.
- 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 must be handled promptly and in accordance with all regulations in order to avoid fines and serious downtime.
- Precision Results
The aerospace industry requires extremely precise production, as there’s no room for error in the final products. This precision has to be balanced with speed for productivity. To compensate, robots now use a variety of vision or laser-based intelligent guiding systems to ensure consistency, accuracy, and productivity.
- Complex End Effectors
Modern aerospace applications demand complex end effectors. They need to be very large for large part sizes. They often must complete very long cycle times with multiple functions, meaning a single end effector must be able to perform a variety of tasks simultaneously. This can make tooling a difficult project for integrators.
There are many challenges that robot users and integrators face in the aerospace industry, but the four listed above are some of the most pressing.
Aerospace robots are often on the cutting-edge of robotic technology, automating some of the most difficult and demanding tasks in the industrial sector. As the aerospace industry continues to demand higher efficiencies, robotic technology will no doubt continue to be a source of innovation.
To take a deeper dive on this topic, listen to our free archived webinar, “Robotics in Aerospace Automation.”