RUAG Space in Emmen (CH)
Automated Non-Destructive Ultrasonic Inspection of payload fairings for Ariane 5 und Vega orbital rockets using robotic manipulators:
Our largest installation so far is an inspection system for 5.4 m diameter half-shells. It uses air-coupled ultrasound technique and covers a working area of 20 x 6 x 3 m³. An unequal pair of robots is moving on 24 m rails along the specimen. On its inside we use a Staubli RX170BL robot, where we have exchanged the standard aluminum underarm by a longer CFRP component to extend the reach to 2500 mm. The outside robot with a reach of 5150 mm is a custom design using a highly optimized CFRP upper- und underarm and a 3-axis wrist featuring densely integrated light-weight servo systems as well as laser sintered structural components. Both robots achieve an absolute accuracy of better than 400 microns (RMS) over the whole working range. This system creates C-scan images fully automatically at scan speeds of up to 1 m/s, reducing scan times to less than 20 minutes per square meter. Distance sensors next to the ultrasonic probe alter the trajectories in real time to closely follow the surface of the specimen. A multi-level collision avoidance concept protects the expensive customer part from any damages.