All-purpose talent in aircraft manufacturing

In aircraft manufacturing, much of the milling, drilling, and assembly is still done by hand. This is because the raw components vary not only in size and design but also in shape accuracy. Small differences are unavoidable in extremely lightweight and elastic materials, which poses a challenge for automated processing.

Working with an industrial consortium, Fraunhofer researchers have now developed a mobile robot that is able to handle these high requirements – the only robot in the world with this capability. When automated machines are used in aircraft manufacturing today, they tend to be heavy, customized portal systems that slide slowly over the components on rails. However, as well as being expensive and inflexible, these systems stand idle for long periods, meaning their productivity levels are low.

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