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Working with a Cobot

A helping hand working alongside human experts.

At the CRMA (our subsidiary specializing in part and engine module repairs ), innovation teams have been experimenting with the use of cutting-edge “Cobots” in order to automate selected tasks. So what’s all the fuss about?

New-generation industrial robots

The particularity - and added value - of cobots is that they can work directly and interactively with humans. While industrial robots are extremely efficient in productivity terms, they completely lack sensitivity and must accordingly be operated in secure, closed, areas as they could otherwise present a risk for humans during operation. Cobots, for their part, can be configured for speed and workload and are sensitive to their environment: whenever they encounter an obstacle they go into sleep mode. They can thus be deployed for collaborative applications at the same time and in the same space as humans, with no danger to them.

A first, conclusive PoC

The cobot operated by CRMA has already proven its worth in the framework of an initial experiment, or Proof of Concept (PoC). The application tested involves contactless measuring of parts. The cobot is equipped with two laser telemeters and runs them over the surface of the part concerned in a predefined area to establish a minimum thickness value, which will tell us if it can be repaired." The traditional inspection process implemented in the "pre-cobot" era does not offer the same level of detail and precision as automated measurement, which represents a technological leap forward in terms of assessing the repair ability of parts.

The gains are significant for CRMA, as the previous procedure could generate an additional cost of up to 80,000 euros per year; the same goes for its customer airlines, who benefit from lower prices. Automated measurement not only optimizes the inspection cycle of parts, but it also allows for a more accurate definition of the work scope.

“After three weeks of experimenting, we concluded that the procedure was feasible and it will now be industrialized. A second cobot will shortly come on stream and will be dedicated to production of this first application. Other Proof of Concept cases for the cobot are now being initiated, in particular for ultrasound inspection of multi-part soldering, measuring corrosion, and, subsequently, automated engine module dismantling.”

Erwan Guérin

Head of Innovation at CRMA

  • Ultra-precise readings
  • Automation reduces TATs and generates cost savings
  • Provides the efficiency and productivity of a robot, but flexible enough to work around human-led operations
  • Records and generates fully traceable data

James Kornberg

Innovation director AFI KLM E&M

Helping your staff to innovate

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James Kornberg