New Robot Fixes Airplane Windows

 - October 23, 2013, 10:35 AM

Battelle has developed a robotic system to repair aircraft windows combining the company’s existing automated maintenance robot and a manual method of transparency restoration.

As a result of weathering and microfracturing, acrylic aircraft windows tend to craze within three to seven years, turning a clear surface into a milky, opaque one that can severely limit vision. The existing process of restoring windows to their original clarity requires technicians to hand buff out the scratches and crazing, a process that takes a significant amount of training, skill and time.

Battelle’s software and specialized parts, integrated with a Fanuc robotic arm, automate the process. The faster robotic system replaces two trained, skilled technicians who would spend up to 10 days polishing the windows. It also applies consistent sanding pressure to retain proper thickness of the material, making approval for flight operations easier to obtain.

The system, originally known as the multi-use robot system, was developed at Battelle to address corrosion in B-52 wing fuel tanks.