Airbus Spanish Plant Spearheads Robotics Project

 - February 20, 2014, 8:57 AM
Airbus's Futurassy project envisions people and robots working side by side, sharing tools and production resources. (Photo: Boeing)

The first robot built for Airbus’s Futurassy research and technology project arrived at the airframer’s Puerto Real plant in Cadiz, Spain, this week. The riveting unit, built by Japan’s Kawada, will help Airbus machinists assemble A380 rudder spars. Airbus’s Puerto Real plant leads a project to expand the automation of its assembly processes with two-arm humanoid robots to perform repetitive tasks, freeing skilled workers to engage in what Airbus calls higher value tasks.

The Futurassy project centers on introducing “harmonized” robotic processes designed to automate aeronautical assembly processes across Airbus sites. The project, led by Airbus and supported by local partners, involves two areas of research.

The first, called Airbus Standard Robotic Cells, explores so-called standard solutions for automating assembly processes. Such solutions, said Airbus, must not only prove cost effective, but also be flexible, multifunctional and autonomous. The second area of research, called the Collaborative Robots project, explores the use of the two-arm robots, specifically designed to work in the same environment as human operators, sharing tools and production resources.