Browse Publications Technical Papers 2005-01-3337

A Crawling Portable Robot for Drilling Operations in Large Air Frame Components 2005-01-3337

The system that will be presented consists of a Crawling Portable Robot (CPR) for drilling large air frame components as a part of the whole assembly process of fuselage or wing type sub-structures.
Currently, the drilling of such components is massively fulfilled manually in a very labour intensive and “craft-based” manner. The operations are conducted in cramped, dangerous conditions and often involve unhealthy postures. The alternative to this situation consists in the use of large fixed-base multi-axis machines mounted upon a foundation on the shop floor.
These machines are quite expensive, and also have a number of operational limitations. Because of their large working envelope, it is difficult for these machines to hold close tolerances over the entire range of all movement axes of the machine. Hence, there is a need to probe and calibrate the machine to the workpiece one or more times during work operations with the consequent negative impact in productivity. Moreover, the machines also require permanent floor space and require the structure that is to be processed to be brought to the machine with the non-productive transit time that is incurred in this process.
The innovation presented seeks to improve upon the situation described above by providing a portable multi-axis drilling robot. The system consists in a robot that is stored in a wheeled station designed for that purpose. Whenever its services are needed, the storage carriage is brought to the component being assembled, and the robot is fixed to the aeronautic component by its own vacuum cups. After self-referencing with the aid of a vision system, the drilling work is done inside the robot working volume. Once this finished, the robot can move and relocate autonomously to the next working volume on the panel by means of a walking or crawling system. Once the work on the full component is finished, the robot is taken down from the panel and placed again in the storage station.


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