ISO 9001 & UKAS Registered, Electron Beam Services in the United Kingdom ISO 9001 & UKAS Registered, Electron Beam Services in the United Kingdom

26/05/17
Start typing your update here...Technology across every sector is evolving and now it appears the aerospace industry has taken another step forward, with the first test of a robotic co-pilot in a 737 simulator.

Aurora Flight Sciences has developed the robot co-pilot that can physically take control of a plane with its arm, has in-cockpit machine vision and is able to interact with members of the crew. During the simulator test, the robot successfully landed the 737, although it is still some way off being able to take control of an actual airliner.

The new automated system has been developed as part of a project with the Defence Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) in the US, as part of its Aircrew Labour In-Cockpit Automation System (ALIAS) programme.

According to DARPA, the ultimate aim for ALIAS is “a tailorable, drop-in, removable kit that would promote the addition of high levels of automation into existing aircraft, enabling operation with reduced onboard crew”.

As well as being able to control the aircraft, ALIAS is equipped with speech recognition and speech synthesis capabilities, which means it can communicate directly with the pilot or other crew members.

The new technology has already been tested on aircraft in flight, with the most recent test on a DA42 aircraft, which is much smaller than a 737.

Of course, automated flight is nothing new, with drones now a common feature of our skies. However, one aviation expert has warned that the UK will need to stay closely aligned with the European Aerospace Safety Agency after leaving the EU if it wants to continue to develop drone technology and have the freedom to fly it anywhere in Europe easily.

Speaking to The Register, committee chairman at the Royal Aeronautical Society UAV Tony Handley said that the UK no longer has enough expertise in this area to run a standalone aviation regulatory body.

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16/05/17
The 2 Sisters Food Group has invested £10 million in its food preparation facility in South Wales to increase production of oriental ready meals.

Following this cash injection, the Rogerstone site now has an oriental foods “pod”, which will be utilised to help drive growth within the company’s Meal Solutions division.

A range of new equipment and technology has been fitted at the factory, including a new in-line cooling system which has helped reduce the environmental impact of operations here.

Managing director of Meal Solutions Simon Wookey commented: “We are investing millions in our factories and embedding a cross-functional lean culture to deliver a gold standard performance.”

The organisation supplies high-quality ready meals to M&S, with a spokesperson from the retailer noting that the extension to the Rogerstone site will mean more exciting and innovative recipes hitting the shelves in stores in the coming months.

Food production is one of the UK’s largest manufacturing industries and there are various projects working to improve its efficiency. Last month, OAL and the University of Lincoln were awarded a grant of £448,850 by the UK government’s innovation agency to explore and develop new robotics material handling systems for food.

The year-long project will focus on automating the processes of handling, weighing and transporting raw ingredients. Part of the project will also examine hygiene and food safety features.

According to OAL’s managing director Harry Norman, this kind of innovation is crucial for the sector, because manufacturers are faced with rising costs but have little opportunity to up their prices, making efficiency gains one of the best ways for them to boost profits.

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05/05/17
It seems that Formula 1’s use of electron beam welding won’t extend to their proposed safety ‘halo’ as the organisation has scrapped the plans in favour of a different solution.

Formula 1 has been dedicated to increasing the level of head protection offered by vehicle cockpits after the high profile deaths of several drivers such as Jules Bianchi and, in recent years, the ‘halo’ had been the preferred method which had been trialled extensively in 2016.

It was proposed to be instated in 2017, before being delayed to 2018, however this week the F1 released a statement declaring they’d be moving ahead with other technology. ““A number of more integrated solutions for additional frontal protection have been studied, and the decision has been taken to give priority to the transparent ‘shield’ family of systems,” read the statement, according to motorsport.com.

The ‘Halo’ had previously divided opinion, with the look of the system being a particular sticking point. The ‘Halo’ saw a piece of protective carbon fibre material sitting above the driver and coming down in front of them, directly in the drivers line of sight.

‘Shield’, however, is made up of a transparent screen which does not cover the whole cockpit, directly answering this aesthetic concern. However, many drivers have come out to question whether this system is style over substance, questioning its safety credentials.

Toro Rosso driver Daniil Kvyat, Haas drivers Kevin Magnussen and Romain Grosjean as well as Williams driver Felipe Massa ehave all expressed concern over the plans.