Rolls-Royce Holdings has announced it will develop an ultra-small robot that can go inside an airplane engine and check the engine status like a cockroach.
This idea was revealed by Rolls-Royce Holdings when it announced its intelligent engine vision. The intelligent engine aims to develop an aircraft engine specialized in service management by combining data collection and artificial intelligence technology. Rolls-Royce Holdings is a company that provides real-time information sharing between gas engines, control devices, ground customers and mechanics in order to enhance the maintenance and adaptability of the engine itself, automatically recognizes engine related situations and automatically adapts, And other gaseous engine records, etc., to get the best performance.
The SWARM robots were developed in this way. Developed jointly with Harvard University’s research team, the robot can be used for internal monitoring without requiring engineers to separate the aircraft engine, which can greatly enhance maintainability.
The engine that enters the airplane has a complicated structure, so it takes a long time for maintenance. The small robot for maintenance uses a small hole made on the outer wall of the engine as an entrance. Remove the small cover attached to the hole and insert a thin tube. It reaches the inspection point through the tube which penetrates deep into the engine. This brings out a small robot at the end of the tube.
Small robots have small, thin legs that crawl up and down the wall like a roach with slow moving speed. Use a small camera attached to the robot to monitor the internal situation and check it thoroughly for problems. Small robots are able to inspect their range of inspection efficiently by putting several units at once. Obviously, the scanned scene can be remotely identified. This allows the engineer to see without having to get inside the engine.
When all the tests are finished, the small robot returns to the tube again. Collect all the robots, pull the tube, and you’re done. Complex engines can be inspected safely and easily.
Attempts to integrate IT technology in aviation have been steadily taking place. In addition to Rolls-Royce Holdings and Pratt & Whitney, GE, one of the world’s top three jet engine makers, also announced last year that it was developing 3D printers that use jet printers to produce jet engine parts for aircraft. GE Additive (GE Additive) announced last year at the Paris Air Show.
The 3D printer uses a metal processing technology (Additive GE Manufacturing) that deposits the metal powder as a thin layer and then irradiates and hardens the laser.
To put it simply, it is to shoot laser light on the part where you want to build up the metal powder. The laser beam with high energy is emitted only in the part where the spark comes up, and it dissolves instantly, and the metal parts are made through this process. Instead of welding or cutting, the metal powder is changed little by little by changing the foundation located on the floor and changing shape to make three-dimensional parts.
This technology is capable of machining metal with a degree of freedom that is incomparably higher than conventional. It is possible to achieve stability and stability in the strength and lightness required by aircraft components. The advantage of using 3D printers is that you can create computerized data and complex geometries anytime and anywhere with just 3D printers. In addition, it is also noticeable that a new machining method has been introduced, in which metallic materials are melted and stacked, although metal processing has conventionally been molded, cut and bonded. By machining the metal with a 3D printer, you can easily implement the metal parts structure that has been difficult until now.
GE has already introduced Leap (LEAP), an engine that uses fuel nozzles made from 3D printers. If it was primarily for small aircraft, the engine described above would have a length of 1 meter. It is also possible to produce large-sized jet engine parts. In the aviation sector, efforts to pursue innovation by connecting with IT are continuing.