Laser Coating Removal Robot (LCR)
The LCR uses a 20 kW CO2 laser that can handle all paint colors. The laser evaporates and combusts the paint, while the paint effluent is immediately vacuumed from the surface and passed through the filtration system. The system has a built-in, closed-loop, color recognition and control system, allowing it to strip both metal and composite surfaces very accurately and make selective stripping possible. The laser is mounted on an 8 DOF robotic arm and a 4 DOF mobile platform and is controlled by specially designed software loaded in the LCR computer that has the capability to perform a geometric robot path analysis of the aircraft. This allows the LCR to follow the three-dimensional contour of the aircraft in an optimal trajectory. For safety, a forward scanner is mounted on the robot’s end-effector to check the aircraft geometry in realtime.
The system will be available in four sizes: the smallest for small aircraft, such as fighter jets and helicopters, the largest for the A380. The system is fully autonomous and will be controlled by a single operator from behind a glass window separated supervisory room. The CO2 laser can remove the paint from the aircraft without damaging the metal or composite surface and will be fully compliant to the SAE MA4872A standard for thermal stripping, as early tests in 2012 showed. Furthermore, the LCR robot will comply with all safety requirements for labor and aircraft.
The LCR concept works with a new generation of high-power lasers and a unique, patented laser scanner to overcome all restrictions and limitations of the conventional methods of paint stripping. Typically, LCR shortens processing time by 50%, reduces cost per aircraft drastically, minimizes reliance on support facilities, and is compatible with all types of aircraft and helicopters, while being fully compliant with quality standards and regulations in the aircraft industry.
Automated Paint Robot (APR) – Release expected in 2023
- The APR will offer all standard and necessary painting functions
- In addition, the APR offers a Digital Printing Feature (DPF), providing customers the advantage of putting full-color livery on aircraft in one shift, instead of several days, offering enhanced (re)branding possibilities for operators and owners of large assets
- Development is based on the LCR platform and mostly off-the-shelf end effectors, limiting the time to market substantially.