Kane Robotics Launches GRIT Collaborative Robot for Sanding, Grinding, Finishing in Aerospace Manufacturing

Kane Robotics said its new cobot is designed for precise and easy to use composites sanding.

Kane Robotics

Kane Robotics offers collaborative robotics for a variety of applications.
Kane Robotics said its new GRIT cobot for composites sanding is designed to improve productivity, reduce health risks, and address labor shortages in aerospace and defense.

Kane Robotics Inc. today announced the launch of GRIT, its first collaborative robot for composites sanding. Developed by aeronautics and composite experts, GRIT can improve productivity, reduce health risks, and solve labor shortages for aerospace maintenance, repair, and overhaul, or MRO, companies, claimed the Chino, Calif.-based company.

“Aerospace and defense manufacturers require extremely precise sanding, grinding, polishing, and finishing work to ensure parts meet regulatory requirements and achieve top performance,” stated Alan Hiken, chief operating officer at Kane Robotics and a composites expert with a 30-year career in aerospace engineering.

“GRIT cobot solutions provide the highest-quality work and help save teams from injuries and illness by filling repetitive, labor-intensive jobs,” he said in a press release.

GRIT works alongside humans

Since its founding in 2019, Kane Robotics has worked with manufacturers in aerospace, defense, and other industries to simplify material removal processes through automation. The company said its cobots are reconfigurable and easy to operate, and they can work alongside people.

Kane said its systems are compact, mobile, and affordable, making them accessible to manufacturers of all sizes and types. They “offer a pragmatic way to dramatically increase productivity, improve safety, and fill job vacancies for dangerous, repetitive, and labor-intensive tasks,” it added.

In addition, Kane Robotics claimed that its cobot are accessible even for smaller manufacturers. A GRIT system requires an average investment of  $100,000, with customers reporting a 100% return on investment (ROI) after six months, it asserted.

Unlike with traditional industrial automation, users can configure GRIT systems for different tasks. With three sizes, the cobots can accommodate a wide variety of jobs.

According to Kane, GRIT can help aerospace manufacturers complete jobs such as:

  • Sanding primer from interior aircraft components
  • Removing coating and sanding surfaces for paint preparation or repairs on helicopter main rotor blades [see video].
  • Polishing fighter jet canopies after thermoforming to remove orange peel and achieve optical clarity

Kane Robotics notes first-generation benefits

“With GRIT, manufacturing teams can simultaneously improve their productivity and solve safety and labor shortage challenges,” said John Spruce, CEO of Kane Robotics.

GRIT is the second generation of Kane’s collaborative robotics. The company said manufacturers recognized the following results from its first generation:

  • Exponentially increased productivity: A 12-hour sanding job can turn into 3.5 hours when done by a GRIT cobot. Moreover, the system's sanding is precise and uniform, minimizing the need for further detail work before starting second-phase operations.
  • Reduced health risks: Kane said its robot can reduce repetitive injuries to wrists, elbows, and shoulders, as well as respiratory and ocular illness caused by airborne particles. Companies reported significant savings in health care costs, said the company.
  • Filling job vacancies. U.S. manufacturers are having difficulty attracting new workers, especially for taxing work like sanding. GRIT cobots can help fill those roles, plus lessen the need to replace retiring workers as the manufacturing workforce ages. Kane said its robot can free veteran workers to do what they do best – operations that require higher-order reasoning and decision-making.

Kane Robotics said it designed GRIT for ease of use, and it requires no specialized expertise to install, operate, or program. The “practical” system is compact and mobile and plugs into 110V electrical outlets, said the company.

Almost any manufacturing technician can operate GRIT, which can be up and running in almost any factory within hours or days rather than months or years, leading to faster ROI, said Kane.

Kane Robotics will be demonstrating GRIT at Booth 4806 at the MRO Americas Aviation Week exhibition from April 18 to 20, 2023.

Kane Robotics shows off just a few of the applications for its GRIT-ST cobot.

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Kane Robotics

Kane Robotics offers collaborative robotics for a variety of applications.

Robot Technologies