Unsettled Technology Domains in Robotics for Automation in Aerospace Manufacturing
Cost reduction and increasing production rates are driving automation of aerospace manufacturing. Articulated serial robots may replace bespoke gantry automation or human operations. Improved accuracy is key to enabling operations such as machining, additive manufacturing (AM), composite fabrication, drilling, automated program development, and inspection. New accuracy standards are needed to enable process-relevant comparisons between robotic systems. Accuracy can be improved through calibration of kinematic and joint stiffness parameters, joint output encoders, adaptive control that compensates for thermal expansion, and feedforward control that compensates for hysteresis and external loads. The impact of datuming could also be significantly reduced through modeling and optimization. Highly dynamic end effectors compensate high-frequency disturbances using inertial sensors and reaction masses.