New Zealand ‘punches above its weight’ on innovation and technology, and now a Christchurch-based company has created robots designed to ultimately improve the safety of the world’s multi-billion dollar aviation market.
Considered a ‘disruptor’ in the industry, Invert Robotics’ technology is enabling significant change in in the aircraft Maintenance Repair and Overhaul (MRO) sector with its remote-controlled robots that use a patented suction mechanism to adhere to and traverse a range of surfaces including aluminium, glass and carbon fibre; even when aircraft surfaces are wet or require an upside down inspection.
Zurich-based aircraft maintenance group SR Technics is the first European company to use Invert Robotics technology in a programme certain to change the nature of many aircraft maintenance and inspection processes.
Equipped with high definition cameras and sensor technology, the robot records and transmits video images to a ground-based screen for real-time analysis by line-maintenance staff, enabling efficient visual inspections (GVI and DVI) on the tarmac or in the hangar. Images can be used for more detailed repair assessments and as a record of ‘current state’ for future comparison purposes.
Rapid set-up and efficient inspection can reduce checks for operational damage from hours to minutes, while eliminating the risks of staff working at height.
Its technology will soon include ultra-sound and thermographic testing, allowing many labour-intensive and tedious maintenance inspection processes to be performed. This frees up skilled aircraft engineers to attend to more complex tasks and reduces the time and cost of aircraft maintenance.
“SR Technics is constantly looking for ways to improve the services and reduce the costs to our customers in this highly competitive industry,” said SR Technics CEO Jeremy Remacha.
“Time savings mean our customers have their aircraft back in service sooner and for airlines that is a huge benefit. Being able to record the state of an aircraft proves the need for and quality of our work and allows more accurate scheduling of required maintenance. We are excited to be part of this innovation that we believe will have a significant effect in our industry.”
“Having developed the world’s first inspection robot of its kind, Invert Robotics has evolved to deliver tools and technologies to difficult-to-access areas, quickly and safely,” said Neil Fletcher, MD of Invert Robotics.
“The opportunity to evolve from inside concave surfaces to outside convex surfaces brought the aviation industry into clear focus as a significant market for Invert Robotics.”
Photo: Invert Robotics’ technology demonstrated on a Boeing 767