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FANUC to showcase advanced automation solutions at FIA2024

Factory automation specialist FANUC UK will showcase a suite of next-generation automation solutions at the Farnborough International Airshow (FIA2024), 22nd-26th July, which is aimed at enabling higher rate aircraft and aerospace manufacturing.

Above: Factory automation specialist FANUC UK will showcase a suite of next-generation automation solutions at Farnborough International Airshow to enable higher rate aircraft and aerospace manufacturing.
Courtesy FANUC

Spanning the entire supply chain – including solutions for the burgeoning eVTOL sector – visitors to stand 4900 can witness the future of aerospace manufacturing first-hand. FANUC’s automation demonstrations, in conjunction with their industry leading partners, will cover a variety of key applications essential for the aerospace sector such as dispensing, polishing, inspection, machining and drilling, helping manufacturers to meet increasing order levels by boosting productivity.

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The aerospace industry is booming. Commercial revenues are expected to grow 14% year-on-year  over the next 10 years, while passenger traffic will grow by 3.6% annually up to 2044. Around 22,120 new aircraft will be delivered between 2024 and 2033 – this equates to nearly 200 a month, every month, for the next 10 years.

“While this is great news for the industry, it means that manufacturers will need to find ways to increase production rates,” said Oliver Selby, Head of Sales at FANUC UK. “Operations have to be more streamlined and cycle times must be cut, all while maintaining the highest standards of quality and safety.”

Flexibility in manufacturing will be another key element in the industry’s successful growth. To this end, the FANUC stand will feature the University of Nottingham’s world-class OMNIFACTORY project. A five-year, £3.8 million facility that employs advanced technology and methodology to make manufacturing more efficient and cost-effective, OMNIFACTORY is a bespoke test-bed floor which autonomously adapts to the next product’s environment and specifications.

The demonstrations around the project’s AGV show a combination of digital technologies, robotics and artificial intelligence including robotic surface preparation and dispensing. The aim of this proof-of-concept project is to inspire a new generation of smart, highly efficient factories, embedded in local supply chains.

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A variety of automated systems from some of FANUC’s key partners – each employing FANUC robots at the heart of their technology – will also be on display at the event. One such example is an advanced metrology solution from Hexagon. Showing how data can be used throughout the product lifecycle to accelerate aerospace innovation and efficient manufacturing, Hexagon’s Presto Robotic Metrology system dramatically cuts the time required to devise inspection routines, by reducing them to a single step. Built on leading scanning technology, this flexible, modular cell has been designed to effectively meet the evolving needs of modern manufacturing.  

Meanwhile, an aerospace drilling cell developed by Electroimpact and featuring a FANUC CRX-25iA cobot, will demonstrate accessible and cost-effective pre-validated drilling functionality for the aerospace sector, offering improved reliability, repeatability and traceability compared to manual practices.

With the eVTOL sector being a key focus at this year’s event, FANUC will also showcase its ROBODRILL vertical machining centre, featuring a Nikken 5AX-201 tilting rotary table. This combined machining and turning cell enables difficult to hold components to be rapidly mounted and changed, even where space is limited.

Oliver said: “With a compact footprint, this is a perfect, cost-effective solution for small castings, using aerospace grade alloys, for products like eVTOL motor housings.”

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