"Rapid Repair" becomes mobile with "CAIRE"

Robot-based CFRP material repair for mobile deployment

Lufthansa Technik AG has developed a procedure which should mean that pure gluing repairs to critical high-performance composite fiber structures can now be made certifiable. With the help of a milling robot which uses special software to recognise even 3-dimensional surfaces, it is now possible for the first time to carry out automated repairs away from maintenance sites.

In the previous research project, "Rapid Repair", Lufthansa Technik AG already successfully developed a complete process chain for the rapid, automated, reproducible repair of CFRP materials. The three year follow-on project, "Composite Adaptable Inspection and Repair" (CAIRE), has further enhanced the original stationary milling robot to allow for mobile repairs.

Speaking about the great potential of this development, "CAIRE" project manager Jan Popp of Lufthansa Technik said: "Thanks to the new robot we can even repair large surface damage on the fuselage or wing in an ‘on wing' procedure. Repairs that were barely imaginable until very recently are now possible." The new repair procedure will primarily be used for large surfaces with monolithic and sandwich structures. Until now, damage to these skin surfaces has meant intensive diagnostics and repair work in a specialist workshop or in the field.

The new repair procedure, complete with robot, will be presented to the public for the first time at the Lufthansa Technik stand at this year's ILA Berlin Air Show.