Automated robot tests cockpit controls

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The first robot for automatically testing cockpit controls has been developed to carry out preventive maintenance on switches and LEDs.

The Robot Controlled Cockpit Electronics Testing (RoCCET) has been developed by engineers at Lufthansa Technik and can be used to check the functionality of LED lights and switches with  standardized measurement data.

RoCCET uses sensors to measure the forces that occur when switches are activated. It is also equipped with several industrial cameras which capture the brightness of all display instruments and any outer damage.

The camera system measures the brightness of all displays from various angles. The robot is therefore able to check all switches and LEDs as well as a human and perform defined functional tests.

Florian Sell, senior engineer automated test equipment systems at Lufthansa Technik said, “This fully automated procedure allows us to ease the burden on our colleagues in the workshops and reduce the testing effort by one to two hours per component.

“At the same time, the new procedure provides concrete measurement data in accordance with uniform standards.

“For example, we now have physical threshold values for the brightness of LEDs.  And with the help of data mining, we can determine exactly when an LED has to be replaced,”

The project to develop RoCCET ran from mid-2016 to the end of 2018 within the Aircraft Component Services division at Lufthansa Technik.

This year Lufthansa Technik plans to develop the robotic inspection system for use on the Airbus A320, A350 and the Boeing 787 aircraft. It’s use in other aircraft will follow, said the company.

Robot testing

Robot Controlled Cockpit Electronics Testing (Image: Lufthansa Technik)

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Ben has worked all of his career as a journalist and now editor, covering almost all aspects of technology, engineering and industry. In the last 16 years he has written on subjects from nuclear submarines and autonomous cars to future design and manufacturing technologies and commercial aviation. Latterly editor of a leading engineering magazine, he brings an eye for a great story and lots of experience to the team.

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