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Industrial Robot Welding

Xaba, Lockheed Martin Test "Synthetic Brain" Robots in Airframe Manufacturing

Nov. 8, 2023
Xaba’s xCognition, an industrial AI, improved the accuracy and consistency of the commercial robot by more than 10 times.

Xaba, developers of the first AI-driven robotics and CNC machine controller, and Lockheed Martin joined together to evaluate the automation of crucial manufacturing operations using Lockheed's industrial robots integrated with Xaba’s proprietary physics-informed, deep artificial neural network model, xCognition.

xCognition, a "synthetic brain", automates the generation of robot programs and works with Xaba's proprietary control system to dramatically increase the precision, consistency, and flexibility of any industrial robotics system. It uses an AI-powered interface to capture an operator's intent with little to no training or can be driven by sensor input such as a vision system. Then, it automatically generates machine programs in the required language for your robot workcell.

To carry out the evaluation, the two companies identified a use case focused on a typical robot work cell used in any aerospace factory to test how Xaba’s xCognition could empower a robot with better intelligence and understanding of its own body along with the task it is set to execute, all the while ensuring that quality and tolerances are achieved.

The test consisted of two phases:

  • Phase 1: Assessing the robot’s performance in maintaining accurate and consistent trajectory positioning with and without Xaba’s xCognition.
  • Phase 2: Performing a set of drilling tests on an aluminum test plate with specified positional tolerances.

What they found is that xCognition did indeed improve the accuracy and consistency of the robot by 10x, showing that industrial robots are able to perform these critical operations that up until now, have been exclusively done by more expensive and less flexible CNC machines.

“The accuracy performance of a robotic system limits the type of process it can perform based on the cost efficiency of the accuracy hardware,” said Matthew Galla, Applications Engineer Staff for Lockheed Martin’s Aeronautics business. “The test with the xCognition controller allows us to rethink how we can accelerate innovation in manufacturing.”

Accurate drilling typically requires expensive static machine tools or a skilled operator who can manually perform the task. Industrial robots and cobots are much more flexible, adaptable, and less costly than CNC machine tools, making them more appealing now for these operations. The reason that robots weren't depended on in the past for these tasks is that they struggled to perform due to their lack of intelligence which was required to deliver on accuracy, repeatability, and to work in path programming mode rather than point-to-point. But now, xCognition makes this possible for tasks such as drilling, laser welding, light machining, and precise assembly.

“Our xCognition AI-driven control system opens a new world of application opportunities for industrial robots and cobots,” said Massimiliano Moruzzi, CEO of Xaba. “It positions Xaba at the center of intelligent automation for sustainable manufacturing.”

Unlike analytical AI used for predictive modeling, industrial AI focuses on the physical world. It can model and drive a vehicle, a complex machining center, and more complex industrial applications.

Xaba is empowering commercial robots and cobots with its proprietary industrial AI software. Xaba’s xCognition is a “synthetic brain” that integrates seamlessly with every commercial robotics brand to make them more consistent, robust, and autonomous, significantly increasing robotics applications and throughput.

Xaba is a pioneer and leader in applying industrial AI to enable a world of intelligent and sustainable manufacturing. Its intellectual property uses AI to turn any industrial robot into a “generative robot” by making it intelligent and autonomous in both generating its own programs and executing tasks such as welding, drilling, assembling, and additive manufacturing. For additional information, visit xaba.ai.

Lockheed Martin is a global security and aerospace company that is principally engaged in the research, design, development, manufacture, integration, and sustainment of advanced technology systems, products, and services.