New aircraft manufacturer Boom Supersonic building superfast plane using Stratasys 3D printing systems

A new aircraft manufacturer called Boom Supersonic is developing aeroplanes which can fly at speeds of almost 1,500 miles per hour. 

The design of Boom’s planes are reminiscent of the Concorde, the world’s first supersonic commercial jet airliner, operational from 1969 to 2003.

But unlike the Concorde, Boom Supersonic’s planes are likely to feature numerous components produced using 3D printing, a technology which didn’t exist when Concorde was flying.  Continue reading New aircraft manufacturer Boom Supersonic building superfast plane using Stratasys 3D printing systems

Airbus chooses Stratasys system to 3D print components for new aircraft

Stratasys has been chosen by Airbus to supply 3D printing and additive manufacturing systems for the production of components for aerospace company’s new plane. 

Airbus has already used the Stratasys FDM 3D Production System to produce 1,000 flight parts for use on its A350 XWB aircraft.

The 3D printed parts use a resin called Ultem 9085, which is certified to an Airbus material specifications to have a high strength to weight ratio and to be resistant to flame, smoke and toxicity – necessary for aircraft interiors.  Continue reading Airbus chooses Stratasys system to 3D print components for new aircraft

Boeing streamlines aircraft production systems at largest factory

A Boeing 787 is pictured at Boeing's production facility in Everett, Washington
A Boeing 787 is pictured at Boeing’s production facility in Everett, Washington, US June 1, 2017. Reuters / Jason Redmond

By Alwyn Scott, Reuters

Boeing is streamlining its aircraft production systems at its largest factory – Everett, Washington – trying to cut costs to compete with rival Airbus and chip away at the near-$30 billion deficit created by its 787 Dreamliner.

Dozens of complex robots are replacing humans for such mundane tasks as drilling and riveting, and Boeing is reordering some of its assembly steps to speed up the process.

The savings, part of a long-term cost-cutting drive at the world’s biggest plane maker that also includes substantial staff reductions, comes as Boeing has spent heavily to develop new aircraft models.  Continue reading Boeing streamlines aircraft production systems at largest factory

New Russian plane looking for room in global market dominated by Boeing and Airbus

An MS-21 medium-range passenger plane, produced by Irkut Corporation, takes off in Irkutsk, Russia, May 28, 2017. Courtesy of Irkut / via Reuters

By Tim Hepher, Reuters

Russia’s new jetliner, which conducted its maiden flight on Sunday, may have a hard time challenging the sales duopoly of Boeing and Airbus, but it does point the way to radical changes in how they could be building jets in the future.

The MS-21, a new single aisle airliner produced by Russia’s United Aircraft Corporation, and its associate company Irkut, is the first passenger plane borne aloft by lightweight carbon-composite wings built without a costly pressurised oven called an autoclave.

The manufacturing process provides a test for a technology already being assessed by Western rivals, who are looking for cheaper and faster ways to build some of their aircraft with composites, according to aerospace executives and suppliers.  Continue reading New Russian plane looking for room in global market dominated by Boeing and Airbus

Robotic co-pilot autonomously flies and lands a simulated Boeing 737

Aurora Flight Sciences
Aurora’s Aircrew Labor In-Cockpit Automation System (Alias) program (Picture: Aurora Flight Sciences)

Aurora’s Alias system performs various flight scenarios, further demonstrates capabilities

Aurora Flight Sciences’ work on the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency’s Aircrew Labor In-Cockpit Automation System (Alias) program has further demonstrated its automated flight capabilities with various successful flight scenarios in a Boeing 737 simulator.

These accomplishments build on Aurora’s successful installation and testing of Alias components on a Diamond DA42, Cessna 208 Caravan, UH-1 Iroquois, and DHC-2 Beaver aircraft.

Aurora’s Alias technology demonstration system is designed to function as a second pilot in a two-crew aircraft, enabling reduced crew operations while ensuring that aircraft performance and mission success are maintained or improved.  Continue reading Robotic co-pilot autonomously flies and lands a simulated Boeing 737

Darpa-backed company demonstrates semi-autonomous plane co-piloted by a robot

Aurora demonstrates advanced robot system on a Diamond DA-42, Cessna Caravan and Bell UH-1 helicopter as part of Darpa autonomous aircraft program

Aurora Flight Sciences is reaching new technological heights in the world of automated flight through its work on the Aircrew Labor In-Cockpit Automation System (Alias) program.

On October 17 Aurora demonstrated automated flight capabilities with Alias flying a Cessna Caravan through basic maneuvers under the supervision of a pilot.

Aurora’s Alias technology has now been successfully demonstrated on three separate aircraft, from three original equipment manufacturers, in less than twelve months.  Continue reading Darpa-backed company demonstrates semi-autonomous plane co-piloted by a robot

Airships: Ready to fly high again after a century of suspicion

futuristic-airship

The Hindenburg disaster, in which a massive German airship caught fire while landing in the US, resulting in the deaths of 36 people, occurred in 1937, but even today it’s remembered and thought of as the reason why airships never took to the skies in large numbers. 

The powerful images of the accident left many who viewed them with the impression that airships were dangerous, partly because they were filled with gas lighter than air.

But whereas the Hindenburg was filled with a flammable gas, modern airships are not – they haven’t been for many decades.  Continue reading Airships: Ready to fly high again after a century of suspicion

Skies full of drones bring many new risks, Allianz warns

drones
Picture via ecnmag.com

Insurance and financial services giant Allianz is warning that exponential growth in the number of drones in the sky carries a wide range of risks 

Whether used commercially for industrial inspections, aerial photography, border patrol, emergency deliveries and crop surveys or recreationally by millions, drones or unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) have the potential to become a multi-billion dollar business and deliver problem-solving technologies across numerous industries.

However, more drones in the skies also raise a number of new safety concerns, ranging from collisions and crashes to cyber-attacks and terrorism.

To ensure safe UAS operations, systematic registration of unmanned aircraft and robust education and training of operators is necessary, according to a new report from aviation insurer Allianz Global Corporate & Specialty (AGCS): Rise of the Drones: Managing the Unique Risks Associated with Unmanned Aircraft SystemsContinue reading Skies full of drones bring many new risks, Allianz warns

Airbus and Renishaw team up to develop ‘innovative design approach to meet future demand for new aircraft’

airbus

Renishaw is contributing its additive manufacturing expertise to a new £17.7 million project, being led by Airbus in the UK, to develop an innovative way of designing and manufacturing aircraft wings, which will encourage a “right first time approach” and reduce development time. 

More than 30,000 new aircraft are expected to be required in the next 15-20 years, replacing existing in-service models and also to expand airlines’ fleets as the number of air travellers increases. 

The project, called Wing Design Methodology Validation – or Windy – has been made possible thanks to joint industry and UK government investment from the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), supported by the Aerospace Technology Institute (ATI). It was one of a number of projects announced by BEIS during the Farnborough International Airshow.  Continue reading Airbus and Renishaw team up to develop ‘innovative design approach to meet future demand for new aircraft’

How motion systems transform airline seating from cramped into comfortable

actuators and airline seats

Promoted

As the demand for air travel keeps on growing, so does the needs of the passengers that come aboard.

Aero planes tend to have very limited space for which much of the facilities have to be fitted in and made to the standards that the customers are willing to pay for.

As such, engineers are tasked with figuring out how best they bring about that element without compromising on the size of the air craft and safety among others, while maintaining the economic aspect of the airline owners.  Continue reading How motion systems transform airline seating from cramped into comfortable

Kuka’s monstrous robotic vehicle manoeuvres gigantic Airbus components with ‘millimetre precision’

Kuka claims its humungous robotic vehicle can move with utmost exactness as it manoeuvres massive aircraft components within small spaces at Airbus 

Robot-maker Kuka is boasting about how precise its omniMove robotic vehicle has been during a job at Airbus where it was used to manoeuvre supersize aircraft components. 

Airbus uses two powerful Kuka omniMove heavy-duty mobile transport vehicles for the construction of its A380 flagship in Hamburg.

With their Mecanum wheels, they are able to transport aircraft components weighing up to 90 tonnes with “millimeter precision” in confined spaces, claims Kuka.  Continue reading Kuka’s monstrous robotic vehicle manoeuvres gigantic Airbus components with ‘millimetre precision’

Airbus decides to use Dassault Systèmes 3D apps for advanced manufacturing operations

dassault systemes airbus

Airbus is extending its use of Dassault Systèmes’ 3d design applications to its advanced manufacturing operations. 

Airbus, maker of airplanes and satellites among other aerospace products, undertook two years of testing before extending its use of Dassault Systèmes’ 3DExperience platform to its additive manufacturing programs integrating design, simulation and production.

Airbus Group will deploy Dassault Systèmes’ collaborative design and simulation applications as part of the “Co-Design to Target” industry solution experience, for the additive manufacturing of tooling, prototyping and parts for test flights and for production use on commercial aircraft.  Continue reading Airbus decides to use Dassault Systèmes 3D apps for advanced manufacturing operations

Spaceflight will be as common in the future as air travel is today

Buying a ticket to outer space will be an everyday activity for millions of people in the future, as common as buying an airline ticket is today, according to an expert.

Paul Kostek, former president of the IEEE Aerospace and Electronics Systems Society, says the commercialisation of space is following the same trajectory as the air travel industry.

Virgin Galactic sub-orbital spaceship
Virgin Galactic sub-orbital spaceship

In an exclusive interview with Robotics and Automation News, Kostek says: “Just looking at the normal evolution of flight, it wasn’t until the 1930s that Boeing introduced the first pressurised planes that allowed them to fly higher… flying became safer.”

Kostek, who is the current principal of Air Direct Solutions, adds that it was approximately 40 or 50 years after the Wright Brothers’ first flight that commercial aircraft came along, with early air travellers being the equivalent of present-day adventurers who buy tickets for trips on Virgin Galactic’s sub-orbital flights.