Airframe Sealing Automation Using Snake-robot

Luís Gonzaga Trabasso
Department of Mechanical Engineering, Aeronautics Institute of Technology, SJCampos, SP, Brazil / SENAI Institute of Innovation, Joinville, SC, Brazil

Doglas Negri
SENAI Institute of Innovation, Joinville, SC/Brazil

Walter Antonio Kapp
SENAI Institute of Innovation, Joinville, SC/Brazil

Magnus Engström
SAAB AB, Aeronautics, Linköping, Sweden

Guilherme Sartori Natal
Department of Mechanical Engineering, Aeronautics Institute of Technology, SJCampos, SP, Brazil

Kerstin Johansen
Department of Management and Engineering, Linköping University, Linköping, Sweden

Ladda ner artikelhttp://dx.doi.org/10.3384/ecp19162022

Ingår i: FT2019. Proceedings of the 10th Aerospace Technology Congress, October 8-9, 2019, Stockholm, Sweden

Linköping Electronic Conference Proceedings 162:22, s. 189-198

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Publicerad: 2019-10-23

ISBN: 978-91-7519-006-8

ISSN: 1650-3686 (tryckt), 1650-3740 (online)


The work described herein have had the objective of carrying out a technical-economical feasibility study of a snake-robot for sealant application in an aircraft fuselage. The execution of the project brought knowledge related to the design and development of robots, constrained Cartesian trajectory generation, optimization methods for inverse kinematics computation, collaborative robotics and 3D simulations besides experiments related to aircraft components and application of sealants in the fuselage. Concerning the technical feasibility of the project, the solution proposed proved to be an adequate solution for the proposed task. The sealant application trajectories in fillets (union of two plates of the fuselage) and fasteners were tested, being all well executed by the robot in a virtual environment, without collisions and without relevant complications. All the trajectories used for the evaluation were taken from the test framework provided by Saab and respecting the process specifications described for this task. Economical evaluation of ROM (Rough Order of Magnitude) gives a result showing fairly good pay-back time although the potentials would be even better with a lower cost. A list of commercial components for the manufacturing of the snake robot was specified, such as: motors, reducers, vision system, components for programming and controlling the robot (drivers, software and robot interface with the user) etc. It is important to mention that, despite the design of the robot drivers, the CAD model developed here needs further detailing for fabrication purposes. Structural analysis must be carried out in the structure and, after any changes are made, evaluations and corrections must be done. A study about the dimension and mass reductions of an existing sealant dispenser was carried out, where the cartridge and the sealant application valve were chosen to be coupled directly to the robotic arm. In general, all activities were executed according to the proposed schedule. The project presented a very high potential and could be applied not only to the aeronautical industry (which was the main objective of the present work), but also to other fields of the industry. Therefore, a continuation of this project is highly recommended, such that the proposed snake robot can be manufactured and physically tested.


snake-robot, aircraft industry, sealing automation, collaborative robotics


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