Skip to main content

More Automated Factories

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - MAF (More Automated Factories)

Reporting period: 2019-03-01 to 2020-02-29

Aircraft testing and validation is an exhaustive process that consumes a large amount of time because of the necessary safety and quality regulations that needs to satisfy. Human factor limits the process efficiency, increases non-recurring costs, and reduces flexibility for new tests and processes.
The validation of aircraft components and its integration is a task that traditionally has been done manually and it has required complex external systems. On the one hand, the connexion of the external test benches to the Aircraft, with a huge amount of harnesses and difficult mounting positions for operators. On the other hand, the validation of the control units of the cockpit. These tests are done manually by operators in positions that are not ergonomics what implies health problems for the technicians.
The general objective of this proposal was to explore further possibilities of new ways to implement this quality validation of aircraft products in a more efficient manner, addressing the reduction of Non Recurring Costs, A/C Testing time, human manipulation, and improving lead time and flexibility of current processes.
As a conclusion this project has achieved the reduction of external test benches for aircraft systems by using a DDS architecture, however, this architecture is not still completely integrated between different vendors and needs to design, in some cases new software modules. In any case, is a big step through the reduction of external test benches. Regarding the validation of the cockpits, the inclusion of a robotic system with artificial vision has reduced the time that an operator needs to be in the cockpit at the same time that has improved the quality and efficiency of the tests. Now, the MAF consortium is working with the topic manager on a way to industrialize this solution in the following two years.
Regarding the work package “use of test-software for self-testing aircraft”, the consortium did, in a first stage, an analysis of the aircraft modules and its needs. According to this analysis a solution was adopted and integrated with CATS.
Regarding the work package “technologies for aided interaction with cockpits”, the first step was to analyse all the components (switches, buttons, screens, etc.) that ned to be managed. After that, a end-effector able to manage this controls was designed and manufactured and the architecture of the whole system was designed and coded. Besides, the vision system was designed according the restrictions of the cockpit (light, size, etc.). Finally, the consortium integrated both parts (control and artificial vision) and validate the results.
Now, the MAF consortium is working with the topic manager on a way to industrialize this solution in the following two years.
As dissemination activities, the consortium has realized the following events and has published the following results:

• Workshop. 10/11/2018. Airbus facilities. Objective: To work in-situ in Airbus cockpit to see possible interaction problems with the robot.
• Workshop. 16/01/2020. Airbus facilities. Future actions and roadmap for industrialization.
• Industry events. The Business Development Department has met with several companies in some industry events, showing the Project. Some companies are very interested in it: Airbus, Akka, etc.
• Website: https://www.airtificial.com/pagina/proyecto-maf/
• Youtube: https://youtu.be/Em40GczEbWU
• Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/feed/update/urn:li:activity:6628245130065379328/
• Twitter: https://twitter.com/airtificial/status/1222556556719464453
At the end of the project, the following results has been achieved:

- SW module for connecting CATS systems with aircraft modules based on DDS architecture.
- Robotic system with artificial system for cockpit validation.

Both lines of researching (WP1 and WP2) have gotten satisfactory results, but the second one (Robotic system with artificial system for cockpit validation) is closest to an industrialization that the first one. The DDS architecture needs the implication of several vendors (not only aircraft manufacturer but also airborne equipment manufacturers) and the path is larger than for the WP1. Relative the WP2, this development has been well received by the topic manager due the benefits it brings, like the improvement of the working conditions, the connectivity of the test system, and the register of the data. Now, the MAF consortium is working with the topic manager on a way to industrialize this solution in the following two years.
Robotic system. Cockpit simulator environment