DLR (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0).
Research in the area of lightweight structures is going to be heavily influenced by automation technology. The DLR Center for Lightweight Production Technology in Augsburg addresses all steps of the production of lightweight structures. A key component is the Multifunctional Robot Cell (MFC), which is a robot-based research platform that allows the investigation of different manufacturing processes of large parts for the aerospace industries with respect to their potential for automation.
In total six ceiling-mounted industrial robots can work either together or independently. Three robots are classic articulated arms with a payload of 270 kg and three are portal kinematics with a payload of 100 kg. The large dimensions of the cell (30 x 15 x 7 metres) allow the production of large, full-scale aircraft parts. The cell can be separated into multiple independent areas to allow for several projects being worked on simultaneously.
The MFC allows the automation of many different steps of the production of lightweight structures, starting with logistics and the draping of flexible textiles up to final assembly. It is possible to optimise each single step as well as to integrate all steps into the complete process.