Optimizes the development and testing times of flight control sticks that have robotic arms, a climate chamber and control electronics cabinets

Airtificial has successfully completed a robotics innovation program funded by the European Union. The Aerospace & Defense unit has designed and manufactured a robotic cell and test bench that optimizes development times and tests of aircraft flight control sticks. The goal of the program was, during the stick testing phase, to improve test results, add value to the development of these high-tech products, and increase their adaptability to different sticks. As a result, the test bench and the robotic cells developed by Airtificial optimize the three fundamental aspects of the project: test optimization, value-added tasks, and adaptability to a multitude of types of flight control sticks.

The project, called the Robotic Active Inceptor Testing System (ROSSI), sought to overcome a technological gap in the aerospace industry, the automatic testing of modern sticks or active inceptors. These new controls have new functionalities that improve the pilots’ in-flight experience and coordination, but, until now, the testing of these new functionalities was rudimentary and manual. Tests whose execution depends on human elements can be subject to delays and unforeseen events, while the use of automated tests follows a strict schedule that results in optimal process execution.

This project has developed a fully automatic test bench capable of simulating the haptic behavior of pilots’ hands. The robotic system developed by Airtificial is capable of programming an infinite number of movements that simulate the real behavior of a pilot in different flight modes, such as automatic, flight/autopilot mode or coupled/uncoupled mode.

As a consequence of Airtificial’s innovation work, the three fundamental aspects of the program have been optimized. The new robotic system and high-precision sensor allow the test bench to improve the automatic testing processes of the operation of the flight sticks by 100%. The manufacturer of the sticks will be able to improve the value-added tasks of the testing process by 90% by being able to dedicate the resources that this test bench previously required to the analysis of results and the validation of the performance tests themselves. The third improvement consists of the new development of the test bench software, which has shown great flexibility by being able to adapt to different types of sticks and to design and modify new tests.

The architecture of the automated test bed encompasses several key high-tech components. Specifically, Airtificial has successfully integrated into this project two industrial robotic arms, a double test climate chamber, a test table and a control electronics cabinet. The robotic arms play a crucial role in the operation as they interact directly with the flight control sticks.

Airtificial Aerospace & Defense has more than 15 years of experience in the design, development and serial manufacturing of flight control sticks or inceptors for aircraft that position it as one of the European companies with the greatest know-how and constant innovation in this field. class of products for the aerospace industry.

This project has been funded by the Clean Sky 2 consortium under grant agreement no. 884426. The Clean Sky 2 consortium receives support from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation program and members of the Clean Sky 2 consortium .