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LaserTAU: Laser processing for aerospace structures

Fri, 09 August, 2019

A new Innovate UK-funded collaborative project, LaserTau, has been launched to investigate the integration of a high speed, accurate and stiff robot (TAU robot) with a laser processing capability, for the manufacture of large-scale,high-end aerospace structures.

The 15-month LaserTAU project is a collaboration between the project partners TWI and CAV from the UK and Prodtex, Cognibotics and Corebon from Sweden.

The Tau robot technology is based on parallel-kinematic machine (PKM) principles. A gantry version of this new prototype robot has already been created and successfully applied to factory application test. Now this project aims to adapt the prototype to create a system that is able to laser process work pieces with a working envelope of around 3m x 1m x1m. The kinematic model, control system and kinematic structure of the Tau PKM robot are being upgraded and further developed by Prodtex, Cognibotics and Corebon.

LaserTAU will then be able to exploit the extreme accuracy (<10microns), high stiffness, large open workspace and reconfigurable on-site capabilities of the robot to manufacture aerospace structures.

TWI is primarily leading the project as a technology enabler and system validator – who would then help drive market adoption through demonstration to an industrial audience. CAV also have expertise in the deployment of laser processing to specialist aero structures in a manufacturing environment.

LaserTau is a unique opportunity to combine leading UK and Swedish technologies, building on common interests and triggering further investment to extend the proposal and provide market-ready products.While this product is currently being investigated for use in the aerospace industry, it is capable of processing structures/components for any sort of industry. In this sense, TWI is investigating expanding the system to serve other industry sectors.

You can find out more TWI’s laser processing work here.

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