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How Robotics Can Address Difficult Aerospace Manufacturing Challenges

Passenger needs and new technologies are increasing the pressure on aerospace manufacturing companies to implement automation to stay competitive. Aircraft design, build processes, and the aerospace supply chain have all undergone significant changes to accommodate market demand. As a result, aerospace manufacturers have multiple challenges to overcome and many are turning to automation for a solution.

Workforce Shortage

Production for aerospace manufacturers has increased in response to demand, but many are finding it difficult to fill their staff needs with qualified workers. New skilled workers can’t be trained fast enough in areas like additive manufacturing, machine learning, and smart automation.

Robotics can solve many of the problems that plague an aerospace manufacturing facility. Human workers can give up mundane, repetitive tasks with robotic automation, freeing them to focus on tasks that require critical thinking. Manufacturing robots can also work around the clock to help meet deadlines and improve ROI.

Rapid Innovation

An especially important development is the growing number of new technologies with low barriers to entry. These new innovations are often very positive for the aerospace sector but result in some key challenges. The short-range transportation market is being upset with the deployment of drones and other autonomously guided vehicles. Larger OEM aircraft will have to find cost savings in established processes to compete, which is where robotics can potentially enable a valuable reduction in costs and losses.

With rapid changes in design and technology comes the need to test and ensure quality control on the production line. Supply chain issues can also arise, resulting in lost time and opportunity. However, robots can be programmed quickly to perform tasks that may take human workers weeks or months to master. This doesn’t mean that humans are out of a job as humans are still needed to program and maintain these robots.

Connected Solutions

Many aerospace manufacturers hope the Industry 4.0 revolution will help them to find the speed and efficiency gains they need. Industry 4.0 also has the potential to accomplish more without requiring additional resources. Manufacturers are also tasked to improve safety and data security requirements and to satisfy government regulations. It’s a topic we addressed in-depth with our recent eBook How Industry 4.0 Can Help Meet the Challenges of Aerospace Manufacturing.

One challenge discussed by the ebook is that of the need for more capable hardware. Improved data acquisition and computer hardware technology are required; otherwise, Industry 4.0 connected devices become costly and ineffective. Specifically, hardware must compress sensor and imaging data in real-time before transmission. Manufacturers must find an ideal balance between the cost and performance of these connected devices.

Learn more about Genesis Systems’ comprehensive robotic integration solutions for aviation, space, and defense applications.

Posted in Robotic Applications
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