Publication / Aerospace

Intelligent sensing for robotic re-manufacturing in aerospace — An industry 4.0 design based prototype

Published: Jan 2018

Dr Héctor Marín-Reyes, Dr Richard French, Mr Michalis Benakis

Emerging through an industry-academia collaboration between the University of Sheffield and VBC Instrument Engineering Ltd, a proposed robotic solution for remanufacturing of jet engine compressor blades is under ongoing development, producing the first tangible results for evaluation.

Having successfully overcome concept adaptation, funding mechanisms, design processes, with research and development trials, the stage of concept optimization and end-user application has commenced.

A variety of new challenges is emerging, with multiple parameters requiring control and intelligence. An interlinked collaboration between operational controllers, Quality Assurance (QA) and Quality Control (QC) systems, databases, safety and monitoring systems, is creating a complex network, transforming the traditional manual re-manufacturing method to an advanced intelligent modern smart-factory.

Incorporating machine vision systems for characterization, inspection and fault detection, alongside advanced real-time sensor data acquisition for monitoring and evaluating the welding process, a huge amount of valuable industrial data is produced. Information regarding each individual blade is combined with data acquired from the system, embedding data analytics and the concept of “Internet of Things” (IoT) into the aerospace re-manufacturing industry.

The aim of this paper is to give a first insight into the challenges of the development of an Industry 4.0 prototype system and an evaluation of first results of the operational prototype.

The paper can be accessed via the IEEE Xplore website.

Presented at the IEEE International Symposium on Robotics and Intelligent Sensors (IRIS), 2017.