Wij Inholland award 2018: Robotic Repairs (ENG)

“The best part? Providing a solution for a real problem.”

Young, bright and full of energy. Six dedicated students combined their different technical backgrounds with one common goal: enhancing the repair process of composite materials. Adnan Jaffer, Ahmed Abd Ellatif, Alvaro Garcia Vega, Haris Ahmed, Kai van Hoof and Yamen Jabi from the Bachelor’s programme Aeronautical Engineering at Inholland Delft started this project as part of a minor during their studies. “It was a challenging assignment. Our coach warned us about the risks, but we knew we could do it.”

Big problem, small solution
These days, the use of composite materials is increasing rapidly in large industries. Most airplanes for example, consist for about 50% out of aluminium, titanium, steel, and other composite materials. What happens when weather conditions damage these materials? Haris and his fellow students noticed how many solutions today are rather time-consuming, primitive, and even unsafe. Moreover, most industries only repair parts. “So, we asked ourselves”, explains Haris, “if repairing parts is possible, why not go all the way?”

Unique robots
Their solution? A portable, user-friendly and fully automated robot. Haris: “We do repairs differently, because of our unique robotic designs. Our robots first scan the damage before assessing it by image processing. Even better, our robots are able to repair damage instantly. The software provides the solution for a special repair patch. It’s easy and efficient.” Incidentally, their designs are also immediate proof of all the different skills each student brings to the table. Haris: “I did software engineering for example, so we all have our own field of expertise. It makes us a really good team.”

The world is their oyster
The six students went on excursion to KLM and discussed their plans. “They are definitely interested because of time and money.” Unfortunately, it is a difficult world to enter and they still need specific certification. “In short”, admits Haris, “the world of aviation is currently beyond our reach.” Fortunately, they keep their hopes up: “We are going to explore other fields first and perfect our product before returning to aviation.”

The next five years: wind turbines
“We visited numerous companies, conducted surveys and spoke with legal advisors.” This project lasted several months. The result? “We decided to focus on wind turbines first.” The blades of wind turbines consist for the most part out of composite materials and the use of these devices is increasing all over the world. “This means we have time to focus on the technical feasibilities of our robots. This particular market gives us countless opportunities because it is such a big market. Moreover, people are keen to invest in innovative projects. It’s very exciting.” 

Wij Inholland
Wij Inholland gives students the opportunity to raise awareness for their projects. A platform on which they can distinguish themselves with an innovative and multidisciplinary project. This project should focus on either health, sustainability or creativity. Moreover, it should also add a regional value by working in close collaboration with a (local) company, institution or community. The winning team receives practical support and a € 2000, - cheque.