- Coming in 2018: the first mobile robot in the world capable of
repairing fiber-reinforced composites
- Patent applications filed
A highly flexible repair procedure for structures made of
fiber-reinforced composites (FRCs) is about to be introduced in the
aviation industry: Lufthansa Technik AG has filed two important
patent applications for its newly developed scarf joining robot, and
preparations are underway to put the new system into commercial
The robot demonstrator developed during the "CAIRE" research and
development project successfully passed all its tests. Trials on
individual components as well as on entire aircraft proved that both
reproducible repairs of damages and purely adhesive-based repairs on
critical structures made of fiber-reinforced composites are possible.
In addition, the robot can even be used for mobile repairs.
"The patent applications relate to a positioning mechanism and a
procedure for increasing processing accuracy. Thanks to the
positioning mechanism, employees can precisely position the scarf
joining robot anywhere on the aircraft without anyone else's
assistance - whether from the side, from above with an overhead crane
or even upside down with the help of hoisting gear. The increases in
accuracy go far beyond what is possible with other industrial
robots," says project manager Dr. Henrik Schmutzler.
The technology is scheduled for industrialization by fall 2018.
Targeted use of the scarf joining robot not only results in cost and
time savings; the new procedure also significantly increases quality,
since it makes entirely new repair geometries possible.