A New Zealand company has created robots designed to improve the safety of the world’s multi-billion-dollar aviation market.
Invert Robotics’ technology is has been described as driving “significant change” in the aircraft Maintenance Repair and Overhaul (MRO) sector thanks to its remote-controlled robots.
The machines use a patented suction mechanism to adhere to and traverse a range of surfaces including aluminium, glass and carbon fibre; even when aircraft surfaces are wet or require an upside-down inspection.
Zurich-based aircraft maintenance group SR Technics is the first European company to use Invert Robotics technology in a programme certain to change the nature of many aircraft maintenance and inspection processes.
Equipped with a high definition camera and sensor technology, the robot records and transmits video images to a ground-based screen for real-time analysis by line-maintenance staff, enabling efficient visual inspections (GVI and DVI) on the tarmac or in the hangar.
The Images can be used for more detailed repair assessments and as a record of ‘current state’ for future comparison purposes.
Rapid set-up and efficient inspection can reduce checks for operational damage from hours to minutes, while eliminating the risks of staff working at height.
Its technology will soon include ultra-sound and thermographic testing, allowing many labour-intensive and tedious maintenance inspection processes to be performed. This frees up skilled aircraft engineers to attend to more complex tasks and reduces the time and cost of aircraft maintenance.
Neil Fletcher, managing director of Invert Robotics, said: “Having developed the world’s first inspection robot of its kind, Invert Robotics has evolved to deliver tools and technologies for difficult-to-access areas, quickly and safely.
“The opportunity to evolve from inside concave surface to outside convex surfaces brought the aviation industry into clear focus as a significant market for Invert Robotics.”
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