All about cobot
The benefits of robotics applied to production lines are widely known and implemented in a large number of industrial sectors. However, over and above pure automation, "cobotics", which is essentially the collaboration between humans and machines is more and more important within the Group’s industrial sites where the cobot is the operator’s new ally.
The cobot is not autonomous like a robot : It is part of the "collaborative robots" sphere. The operator is in control, while the robotic system performs and makes the task safe. They interact either remotely by remote operation or the operator manually handles the cobot in situ.
The benefits of cobotics
Cobotics is essentially the real-time pairing of the capabilities of a robot (strength, precision and repeatability) and the skills of a human being (know-how, analysis and decision-making). Cobotics is also part of Safran's HR commitments. Indeed, the development of cobotics eliminates arduous work situations and provides a means of capitalizing on the experience, analytical capacity and decision-making of operators through artificial intelligence. This helps to maintain jobs and increase the skills of users in our new factory 4.0.
A wide field of applications
At Safran, cobotics and the human-machine interface have been the subject of an applied research program since 2014. Within the Group, cobots are used for various tasks such as handling, tool loading, sanding and non-destructive testing.
Manipres is one of the projects carried out within the FactoryLab – a consortium that brings together players from research, academia and industry. Safran Aircraft Engines site in Villaroche has set up a cobot for the precise handling of 120 kg load to position the Assembly Gear Box (AGB) on the LEAP engine. Subsequently, this solution was successfully tested within Safran Helicopter Engines and Safran Transmission Systems.
The Outport project made it possible to develop a drilling and milling cobot on Safran Nacelles' site in Le Havre. It can improve both performance (by reducing cycle time by a factor of 3) and working conditions (operators no longer exert themselves and dust is collected at source by the cobot).
Other projects specific to Safran are being carried out within the Siroco platform, based on needs expressed in various Group facilities:
- Safran Landing Systems (Bidos) is working on a mobile cobot featuring an ALICONA head-guided control for semi-automated measurements to be taken more accurately and quickly.
- Safran Aircraft Engines (Villaroche) is interested in using the cobot to repair fan blades made of carbon fiber and titanium (for the leading edge). The process involves machining the blades using a high-pressure water jet system, mounted on a cobot. Two other applications of this cobot are also being considered at Châtellerault to strip paint and repair composites on other parts.
- Safran Helicopter Engines (Bordes and Tarnos) is considering using cobots for its assembly lines. It consists of a flexible assembly workstation capable of assembling several types of helicopter engine rather than just one as is currently the case. The cobot could also handle screwing/unscrewing operations.
- Safran Electrical & Power (Réau) using cobotics for an inspection station for circuit-breaker panels: the cobot handles the opening and closing of the circuit-breakers independently while the operator concentrates on the final result.
- Maps are available under the Open Database Licence.
- © OpenStreetMap contributors.
- © Safran
- © Christel Sasso / CAPA Pictures / Safran