Airborne to renew Airbus Helicopters composites cutting room

Airborne has been selected by Airbus Helicopters to renew the cutting room in Donauwörth, Germany, with state-of-the-art digital Kit by Light systems.

The main objective is to improve operation and material efficiency by making composite plies kitting faster, easier and without mistakes.

The new cutting and kitting lines will include full digital control of the total kitting process to guarantee flexibility, 100% quality control (zero mistakes), allow dynamic nesting combining multiple parts in a nest and provide more output per cutter and per worker. The full workflow will be digital and seamlessly integrated, from work preparation to execution on the shopfloor.

In this project, Airborne’s Kit by Light system will be tailored to meet Airbus Helicopters requirements, tested and installed in the factory, before handing it over to Airbus Helicopters. The systems support the operator with a digital light system for picking, sorting and sequencing of plies.

One of the hurdles is that there are many different materials, plies and kits to be processed.

Airborne uses Automated Programming in all its machines, which avoids the need for programming the system. The software takes the nest, kit and material input, and translates this via an advanced algorithm into the correct instructions for the operator to offload the cutter, to make kits with plies in the correct sequence and to store them in the dynamic buffer. This happens on-the-fly, which makes it very easy to implement on the shopfloor.

This approach of software-driven automation makes the systems very flexible. The user can easily upload new kits and nest files, including a mix of parts, and the system will adapt all the instructions for the operator automatically. It provides the customer with the possibility to adapt to changing operational needs (for example by using dynamic nesting) or to new product designs.

Marcus Kremers, CTO of Airborne, said: "We are thrilled to be selected by Airbus Helicopters. It's an exciting and top-level customer, with a great team of bright engineers that we are happy to work with. The Kit by Light system is a good example of how digital automation can reduce material waste and improve operational efficiency.”



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