Work is set to begin on a £2.5 million Robotically Enabled Sensing (RES) hub at the University of Strathclyde.
This will bring next-generation robotics together with sensing technology to inspect high-value components like aeroplane wings at the point of manufacture (and then throughout their life) to make them quicker, easier and cheaper to build.
The new facility (in the historic Royal College) will house 11 robots capable of handling components up to 6m long and will allow collaborative working on applied robotics to drive research, innovation and training.
It will build on established industrial partnerships, including one with Prestwick-based Spirit AeroSystems, and collaborations with the National Physical Laboratory and Kuka Robotics (www.strath.ac.uk
Gareth Pierce, electronic and electrical engineering lead at the University of Strathclyde, said: “We are creating a ‘go to’ facility for automation and sensor integration.
The work will ensure that components are built and maintained safely and more quickly, as well as more cheaply and to a higher quality.
"The hub will enable us to expand our customer base into new sectors and also help build Strathclyde’s international reputation in robotics research, bringing advanced robotics and sensing technology to the widest possible audience.
"It will also ensure that our graduates will be the next generation of advanced robotic engineers, providing novel solutions to challenges across sectors from manufacturing and health-care to civil construction and nuclear decommissioning.”
Geoff Pinner, head of wing engineering at Spirit AeroSystems, said: “Partnerships between industry and academia — such as the relationship with Strathclyde — are essential for Spirit AeroSystems.
“The RES lab will play a key part in the development and integration of new industry-leading technologies, enabling us to remain at the forefront of the ever-evolving aerospace market.”