The Advanced Forming Research Centre (AFRC) is supporting a new collaborative research project in autonomous inspection in manufacturing and remanufacturing (AIMaReM). The centre is utilising its flexible robotics research cell to support research in autonomous systems.
The purpose of this project is to develop an automated systems integration tool which will allow for a faster, more integrated inspection path in order to save time and cost whilst enhancing quality and quantity.
The AIMaReM project, led by Professor Gareth Pierce, principal investigator at the University of Strathclyde, was established in order to increase knowledge and understanding of the research challenges which underlie UK autonomous systems manufacturing. The growth in high-value manufacturing in support of aerospace, nuclear and other sectors using high integrity engineering components has placed huge pressure on the rapid delivery of reliable and high-quality non-destructive evaluation (NDE) to inspect these parts.
Currently, much inspection of safety critical components is performed manually, leading to constraints. Similar constraints occur when translating NDE to the remanufacturing process.
Tony Rodden, senior manufacturing engineer and robotics expert at the AFRC said:
This project aims to address a fundamental issue with robotics in manufacturing - flexibility. The pre-programmed paths that are usually required in industrial robot applications often require significant engineering time and resource.
A system that is flexible enough to handle a range of input conditions will improve productivity and reduce downtime. With this unique collection of researcher capability, the UK has an opportunity to lead on a research area which is facing increasing international competition. The flexible robot facility at the AFRC is ideal for such research and the results are anticipated to be hugely beneficial to the UK manufacturing industry.”
Funding for this project was secured from:
- Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC)
- University of Sheffield
- Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC)
- Factory 2050
- SPIRIT Aerosystems
- Autocraft Drivetrain Solutions
- KUKA Robotics UK
- National Nuclear Laboratory
- University West (Sweden)
- Production Technology Centre
- Los Alamos National Laboratories
- Robots in Architecture (RWTH Aachen University).