Intuitive Robot Programming for Flexible Aerospace Manufacturing

“Aircraft manufacturers often put large robotic systems in place, but they’re only exploiting them to a limited area where they know they can avoid errors,” says Bakmazjian. “Any time they want to go outside those areas, it becomes very restrictive.”

COMPOSITES AQUITAINE’s Coubard says that by replacing their old software their programming time was reduced by two to three times.

“Robotmaster allows us to work in the same way we used our CNC machines to tool parts,” he says. “Since Robotmaster also interfaces with Mastercam® software, we were able to quickly and easily perform full 7-axis milling and drilling.”

Coubard says they are using Robotmaster to program a rail-mounted 6-axis robot. Applications include tooling thermal protection parts made of glass fiber for the Airbus A330 airliner and honeycomb for the Airbus Super-Puma MK II helicopter.

“With Robotmaster we’re able to embrace the world of robotics. Now we can tool our composite parts in the same easy way we used to tool them with the CNC machine,” says Coubard. “In fact, the new simulation feature is so powerful that we have yet to exploit all of its capabilities.”

Without Robotmaster, Coubard says they would have most likely abandoned robotics and gone back to old CNC machining methods.

Error-Free Programming

At the AMRC, Morgan’s group uses robotics and metrology to develop new methods for assembling complex products for aerospace and other high-value industries.

“We’ve been working with Robotmaster for the last three years,” says Morgan. “The software has allowed our operators and engineers to quickly and effectively reprogram the cell, as well as optimize the machine path. It has great flexibility and control.”

“Using this software lends itself to the research environment in particular, because our range of work and part variability,” says Morgan. “We don’t manufacture anything here, so often we end up doing one, two, or three parts and then we’ll move on to another part. But the aerospace sector itself is demanding reconfigurability as well, so we’re meeting that requirement with Robotmaster.”

Operators report that the software works 100 percent of the time – the first time – without the need for manual teaching intervention or touch-up. It’s error-free robot programming without the complexity. So easy, even a newbie can use it.

Couple a flexible robot with an advanced software solution. Now you’re free to exploit the entire robot workspace. What first appeared as a liability of an overdetermined system with various ways to reach the same point has now become an opportunity given sophisticated path optimization tools.

Robots have proven their airworthiness. They just need the right software to realize their full potential.



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