A method and apparatus for providing an automated optical robotic polishing system for removing flaws in transparencies, such as transparent canopies used in aircraft. A pneumatic random orbital polishing tool attached to a robot arm is used to polish canopies to remove flaws. The flaws are removed by grinding the area surrounding the flaw and smoothing the flaw site to conform to the contour of the canopy. To identify optimum motions for the polishing tool for grinding to remove the bulk of the plastic material around a flaw, mathematical topology simulation techniques are implemented using various polishing pad pressure profiles and various polishing motions.
David S. McFalls; Dennis J. Wenzel