Aviation Academy

Automation of composite repairs

the sanding and stepped lap, material removal processes


As a logical consequence of the advancements in automation of production of composite aircraft structures, more attention is paid to the automation of maintenance. <br/>Current repair procedures involve manual labour and exposure to harmful particles (such as dust, vapours) while final quality and evidencing depends largely on the skills of repair technicians. The current study aims to automate composite repair procedures for the aviation sector with the objective to counter these disadvantages. <br/>Main research question: ‘What is required for a robot system to assist in composite repairs’<br/>This research is part of a larger, SIA-RAAK funded project FIXAR, running in three Universities of Applied Sciences in the Netherlands and a cluster of knowledge institutions and industry partners.<br/>In the repair process of aircraft structures, repair by means of scarf or lap joints is common practice. First paint layers must be removed to inspect the area and prepare for further repair. Then damaged material is removed. Material is replaced and the repair is finished and painted. <br/>Tasks within the repair process that are considered dull or harmful are sanding and material removal. Current investigation focussed on automation of these tasks. <br/>

Reference Borst, M. S., Stamoulis, K., van den Eng, R., Schippers, F., & van Leeuwen, G. (2021). Automation of composite repairs: the sanding and stepped lap, material removal processes. Paper presented at SAMPE EUROPE Conference and Exhibition 2021, Baden, Switzerland.
1 January 2021

Publication date

Jan 2021


Maaik S. Borst
Rick van den Eng
Fabio Schippers
Gianni van Leeuwen

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