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Aerobotix, FerRobotics Launch Robotic Tool for Precision Application of Masking Tape

AerobotixFerRobotics Tape400x275

November 29, 2022

Two leading robotics companies based in the U.S. and Austria, respectively, have announced a partnership on a new solution for automated precision application of masking tape. Collaboration between engineers from Aerobotix and FerRobotics has led to the development of a new End of Arm Tooling system.

After months of prototypes and testing during the pandemic, the new Active Taping Kit (ATK) tool was completed, with FerRobotics’ patented Active Compliant Technology (ACT) enabling a robot to use varying pressure when applying tape to an aircraft. The tool allows for smooth masking on parts varying in shape and puts down perfectly straight tape lines. The system provides precision control of all individual process parameters – contact force, cutting, and tape consumption.

“Customers have been asking Aerobotix to automate the masking process for years,” said Chris Kolb, vice president of sales at Aerobotix. “The response was always ‘Wouldn’t that be great,’ but the technology required to do it correctly just wasn’t available yet. The FerRobotics ACT device lets the robot ‘feel’ the part and instantly adjust the pressure used to apply the tape. We needed this sensitivity to put masking tape down correctly and not damage high value parts.”

“The ATK offers the highest process quality from one source, and with a design that’s compact and light,” said Ronald Naderer, FerRobotics Founder and CEO. “It’s extremely durable and is designed to apply various kinds of tapes on any part or surface with exact repeatability and without bubbles or wrinkles. This joint project with Aerobotix has resulted in an innovative product that should thoroughly satisfy customer needs.”

The ATK’s automated masking process is is being tested on several aircraft. Funding for this international project was provided by the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL), led by Carl Lombard, materials research engineer. The scientific research organization recognized the potential value in the EOAT concept and assessed that manufacturing downtime during the pandemic offered a good opportunity to support development and testing. Additionally, Lombard said his exposure to programs where manual masking is impacting costs and delivery schedules made him, and the AFRL, the right fit for financially backing the development of this new solution.

Headquartered in Huntsville, Ala., Aerobotix has more than 130 robotic systems installed in the U.S. and abroad. To learn more about the companies, visit the FerRobotics and Aerobotix websites.


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