In the past two decades, composites have increasingly displaced aluminum as the structural material of choice in the aerospace industry. Previously considered an exotic material confined to high performance military aircraft, composites are now widely used in the civilian sector; the composite airframes of the Boeing 787 and the Airbus A350 being excellent examples. Although the exceptional strength-to-weight characteristics of composites make them ideal for aerospace components, manufacturing and material handling challenges can make implementation of such materials difficult.
Innovations in Automation Blog
Commercializing new technology is always exciting, especially after years of research and development. SwRI and XYREC have been diligently developing a robot-guided laser coating removal solution for stripping paint and other coatings from aircraft and aerospace components. We are pleased to announce that the Laser Coating Removal Robot (LCR) was recognized by R&D World magazine as one of the 100 most significant innovations of 2020. For those of you who are new to the R&D 100 Awards, they are widely known as the “Oscars of Innovation.”
Welcome to the new blog we are calling Innovations in Automation. To kick off our first article, we thought it would be fun to discuss our roots in the field of industrial robotics and automation. When Southwest Research Institute (SwRI) first started working with robots, intelligence meant something very different, and just a successful implementation of a pick-and-place operation was reason for celebration. Simple vision systems required computer racks the size of a refrigerator coupled with cameras the size of a toaster.