Xaba and Lockheed Martin Collaborate to Test Cognitive Autonomous Robots in Airframe Manufacturing

The test showed how industrial robotics augmented with xCognition can perform crucial manufacturing operations that until now have been exclusively done by more expensive and less flexible CNC machines, the companies said.


Xaba said its AI software enables industrial robots to become more useful.
The companies performed a set of tests to see the value of Xaba's XCongition artificial neural network model for drilling and welding tasks.

Xaba and Lockheed Martin recently completed a collaboration to evaluate the automation of crucial manufacturing operations using the global aerospace company’s industrial robots integrated with Xaba’s proprietary physics-informed deep artificial neural network model, xCognition.

Xaba and Lockheed Martin identified a use case focused on a typical robotics work cell used in any aerospace factory to test how Xaba’s xCognition “synthetic brain” could empower a commercial robot with greater intelligence and understanding of its body and the task it is about to execute while ensuring required 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.

Based on the data collected by the Lockheed Martin and Xaba teams, Xaba’s xCognition improved accuracy and consistency of the commercial robot by a factor of 10X.

“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 historically requires expensive (both in hardware and real-estate) static machine tools or the task is manually performed by skilled operators. Using industrial robots and collaborative robots (cobots) instead of the two options currently embraced by aerospace companies is appealing because they are much more flexible, adaptable, and less costly than CNC machine tools, the companies said.

xCognition adds robotic intelligence to drilling

However, commercial industrial robotics systems have struggled to perform critical manufacturing operations such as drilling, laser welding, light machining, and precise assembly. The reason for this is the lack of robotics intelligence required to deliver accuracy, repeatability, and to work in path programming mode rather than point-to-point. This challenge is solved with the xCognition AI-driven control system, Xaba argued.

“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.”

Xaba takes into account the physical world with neural network model

Unlike analytical AI used for predictive modeling, industrial Artificial Intelligence (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.

Toronto-based Xaba said it is a pioneer and leader in applying industrial artificial intelligence (AI) to enable a world of intelligent and sustainable manufacturing. Its intellectual property uses industrial 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.

Headquartered in Bethesda, Maryland, Lockheed Martin Corporation is a global security and aerospace company that employs approximately 116,000 people worldwide and is principally engaged in the research, design, development, manufacture, integration, and sustainment of advanced technology systems, products, and services.

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Xaba said its AI software enables industrial robots to become more useful.

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