Robotic Automation

Starting in 1998, Lasertronics collaborated with the Applied Research Labs (ARL) at Penn State University and the National Center for Manufacturing Sciences to develop a robotic application to strip Navy helicopter rotor blades. Other members of this team included Koops Engineering, Sikorsky Aircraft, and the Naval Undersea Warfare Center. This system uses three of our lasers and Fanuc robotics completely strip a rotor blade with no human intervention.

The first example of this system was installed at the Navy’s Fleet Readiness Center – East (FRC-East) at Cherry Point, NC, in 2009. When upgraded to the original specification, it will completely strip an H-53 main rotor blade in just two hours, down from about 24 hours with humans using orbital sanders. This “Automatic Rotor Blade Stripping System” (ARBSS) won the Excellence in Maintenance award in 2009 from the Office of the Secretary of Defense, and the Defense Manufacturing Excellence Award in 2010 from the Aerospace Industries Association.

Lasertronics is currently working with a National Center for Manufacturing Science (NCMS) team to develop a more powerful robotic solution to laser-strip an entire aircraft. This “Robotic Automated Coating Removal System” (RACRS) will initially strip V-22 Ospreys, but could be used for other aircraft as well.

Robotic Automated Coatings Removal System from Lasertronics

Artist's conception of the Robotic Automated Coatings Removal System (RACRS) positioned to strip a V-22 Osprey aircraft