The knowledge connection for business

Client: Thompson & NRC
Knowledge Provider: Northern Regional College
Sector: Advanced Engineering

Thompson & NRC

Thompson Aero Seating (Portadown) designs and manufactures Seat moduals for first / Business class on a range of aircraft which embody innovation, technical expertise and quality.

NRC AERO NRC AERO About the Company
Over the last 4 years they have doubled in size annually to keep up with the demand for their innovative seat design.

About the Case

Such is the demand on getting production through the shop floor and releasing new products, there is very little time that can be devoted to looking at way to reduce cost from the manufacturing line. However they have identified an area of product testing as being labour intensive. Each new design has to be tested to ensure all the moving parts will be able to stand up to the wear and tear of everyday use on a busy aircraft.
Through Connected NRC has been able to make contact with Thompson’s Aero Seats and have been able to identify areas of automation within the company and have made them aware of the level of expertise and resources that NRC has available to them. Thompson’s then approached NRC about using robotics for cycle testing the Seats table mechanisms by extracting and stowing away the table 60,000 times. This is currently done manually.

About the Knowledge Provider

Northern Regional College Manufacturing Engineering Department has enjoyed good industrial relations with many of the local manufacturing companies. All of the lecturing staff within the department has come from an industrial background.
Alan Reid, who looked after this Thompson’s project has had considerable experience with Robotic systems and has managed several projects for different companies, introducing them to Robotic Welding and machine tending.
NRC has several industrial sized robots, 4 ABB pick and place, 1 IGM welding and the latest addition, a Universal Collaborative Robot used to work alongside operators on the production line without guarding.

The Results
NRC was able to offer a lecturer, the college equipment, and, in conjunction with the company, was able to create two individual programs and a tool to enable the robot to carry out the cycle testing. 170 hours later, the robot completed the testing, simulating enough wear and tear that would be comparative to 10 years’ service.
Thompson’s have been very impressed with the outcomes of the testing, due to the controlled nature they were carried out in, and level of data generated, that they are now considering purchasing a robot to carry out further testing on a range of parts within their own factory.

Contact Details of Knowledge Provider:

Knowledge Provider Name: Northern Regional College
Contact Name: Alan Reid
Telephone number: 028 2566 4249

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