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AMRC Cymru Develops Smart Assembly and Inspection Demonstrator for Collins Aerospace

by Anna

In a groundbreaking collaboration, AMRC Cymru, part of the University of Sheffield Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC), has successfully developed a Smart Assembly and Inspection Demonstrator (SAID) for Collins Aerospace, a world-leading aerospace manufacturer. The innovative assembly process was designed for Collins Aerospace’s actuation systems site in Wolverhampton.

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Tasked with a challenging deadline of just ten weeks, AMRC Cymru, located in Broughton, North Wales, met its objective by leveraging cutting-edge technologies. The Smart Assembly and Inspection Demonstrator combines computer-aided design (CAD) with existing technological systems, including the LightGuide Smart Workbench equipped with a projector, monitor, and camera, as well as DIOTA augmented reality software.

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The result is a highly advanced Smart Workstation capable of operating in any language, facilitating a simplified, paperless assembly method for workers of varying experience and abilities. Collins Aerospace implemented the Smart Workstation at its Wolverhampton site, where it resides in the technology development area.

The Smart Workstation goes beyond conventional assembly methods. It analyzes processes to enhance efficiency, offering insights into alternative, more efficient approaches. The program-controlled build process ensures compliance with approved manufacturing and assembly methods. From a training perspective, the system allows individuals with limited experience to learn the build process step-by-step, ensuring consistent process outputs. The technology’s intuitiveness also holds the potential to improve operational efficiency, quality, and operator safety.

With direction from the LightGuide and a well-documented, easy-to-follow process that logs every step and movement of the manufacturing process, user feedback indicates a ‘significant and beneficial’ impact. Gareth Towlson, senior manufacturing research engineer at AMRC Cymru, led the team in Broughton and emphasized the bespoke nature of the solution, tailored to Collins Aerospace’s specific needs through collaboration.

Towlson expressed excitement about seeing the Smart Workstation in development at Wolverhampton, highlighting the successful partnership and the ability to find a solution within budget and deadline. He also noted interest from other sectors and high-value manufacturers, emphasizing the technology’s versatile application.

AMRC Cymru’s dedicated and experienced team of research engineers, Towlson noted, has the skills and expertise to collaborate with customers in various arenas, meeting critical timescales and exceeding goals. The success of the Smart Assembly and Inspection Demonstrator opens the door for future collaborations with other organizations seeking innovative solutions.

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