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RoCCET (Robot Controlled Cockpit Electronics Testing) © Lufthansa Technik

World's first cockpit panel test robot developed

Test paves way for preventive maintenance on switches and LEDs

Lufthansa Technik AG claims to have developed the world’s first robot for fully automated tests of cockpit controls in Hamburg’s Center of Applied Aeronautical Research (ZAL), a press release said Wednesday (January 16, 2019). The Robot Controlled Cockpit Electronics Testing (RoCCET) will be used to check the functionality of LED lights and switches based on standardized measurement data. The robot-based procedure is currently in the integration phase.

Statistical methods used on large databases

Commenting on the development, Florian Sell, Senior Engineer Automated Test Equipment Systems and manager of the RoCCET project, said: “This fully automated procedure allows us to ease the burden on our colleagues in the workshops and reduce the testing effort by one to two hours per component. At the same time, the new procedure provides concrete measurement data in accordance with uniform standards. We now have e.g. physical threshold values for the brightness of LEDs. And with the help of data mining, we can determine exactly when an LED has to be replaced.”

Accurate inspection by sensors

The robot has integrated sensors to measure the forces that occur when switches are activated. It is equipped with several industrial cameras which capture all display instruments and any outer damage. Another camera is used to measure the brightness of all displays from various angles. The robot is thus able to check all switches and LEDs as well as a human being and carry out defined functional tests.

The robot-based test procedure will initially be used for cockpit controls on Airbus A320 and A350 as well as Boeing 787 aircraft. It can also be extended to other cockpit and cabin controls on all aircraft types at various locations.

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