The goal is to optimize human-robot collaboration via virtual and augmented reality


As the world moves toward increased automation and Industry 4.0 is becoming further embedded in our production processes, the aircraft industry is leading advances in innovation and efficiency. In addition to improving the technology that goes into an airplane, a manufacturing process that has greater precision is also needed.

Currently, the majority of the tasks that go into assembling the components that make up the cabin and cargo areas of airplanes are done manually via complex production systems. But innovations in automation make it possible for cutting edge robotic systems to work alongside humans during the final assembly of the interior components, which includes the overhead panels, stowage bins, button panels and interior fixtures.

Planning these final assembly tasks is complex due to the limited space available and the level of detail required. Multiple factors have to be studied, such as the different ways that workers are able to move and the potential failures of the robotic systems.

To facilitate such studies, Ceit-IK4 will use virtual reality and augmented reality technologies to find optimal human-robot collaboration solutions for efficient final assembly. Various human-robot cooperation scenarios will be simulated, and the most promising solutions will then be studied using augmented reality in a real scenario.

The project, which goes by the acronym SIMFAL (Assembly Planning and Simulation of an Aircraft Final Assembly Line), is being coordinated by Ceit-IK4 and in collaboration withthe Fraunhofer Institute and engineering firm CT Ingenieros. The project is part of the European program Clean Sky 2.

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