Thales Alenia Space Achieves a Major Milestone in Industrial Cobotics

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Thales Alenia Space takes another key step in its transformation toward Industry 4.0 through the development and use of new production technologies contributing to improve flexibility and reduce time-to-market. In its L’Aquila plant located in Italy, the company takes pride in revealing the new multi-purpose collaborative robot, or cobot, CRATOS (Collaborative Robot Addressed To Operative Solutions), which is already implementing its first mission to integrate electronic components into the first COSMO-SkyMed second-generation flight model.

“Cratos cobot sets a  new milestone  in the global Thales Alenia Space digital transformation strategy by facilitating production and accelerating time-to-market while complementing employees’ jobs in addition to automated machines and augmented reality,” said Donato Amoroso, deputy CEO of Thales Alenia Space. “I am proud of our ability to match the fast-evolving market demand by using innovative technologies while capitalizing on the skills of our teams ”.

For Thales Alenia Space, CRATOS (derived from Kratos, the god of power in Greek mythology) is the first collaborative robot  used to integrate electronic equipment, it can operate alongside employees, in the same area without any physical barriers. CRATOS is a highly versatile cobot capable of assembling and bonding components and parts, as well as checking these operations. Thanks to its flexible architecture, all operations are carried out in sequence, to considerably reduce assembly time. It also enables full control over the integration process, with a measurable improvement in quality. The CRATOS robot can be programmed via a conventional wire link, receiving instructions from CAD system files, or by a self-learning process. It was designed to continuously extend its scope of applications, including a 3D reconstruction feature, based on a panoramic photographic system and infrared barriers that will increase speed during automated integration while ensuring safety.

In the framework of its Industry 4.0 roadmap, Thales Alenia Space has also been operating SAPHIR, in its facility in Cannes, France. SAPHIR , is a collaborative robot designed to automatically prepare and install inserts in the structural panels on telecommunications satellites. It significantly reduces production cycles and costs on these satellites, each of which has some 3,500 inserts. Furthermore, Thales Alenia Space recently announced the construction of a new state-of-the-art plant in Hasselt, Belgium to produce photovoltaic assemblies (PVA). The facility will feature new technologies, including the robotic assembly of panels, digitization of the production process, with digital management of data and traceability, including online tests and checks, as well as the use of augmented reality.

About COSMO-SkyMed

COSMO-SkyMed, funded by the Italian Space Agency (ASI) and by the Italian Ministry of Defense, and the Ministry of Education, Universities and Research (MIUR), is a constellation of four radar satellites that can operate in all weather and visibility conditions and features very short revisit times. The Second Generation COSMO-SkyMed system (CSG) will continue the Earth observation services provided today by first-generation satellites. CSG represents a quantum leap in terms of technology, performance and service life, to expand the scope of applications, especially concerning risk management and damage assessment for natural and man-made disasters. Thales Alenia Space in Italy is the prime contractor, responsible for the entire system, including both space and ground segments. Telespazio developed the ground segment and hosts the Constellation Control Center at the Fucino Space Center.

About Thales Alenia Space

Combining 40 years of experience and a unique diversity of expertise, talents and cultures, Thales Alenia Space architects design and deliver high technology solutions for telecommunications, navigation, Earth observation, environmental management, exploration, science and orbital infrastructures. Governments, institutions and companies rely on Thales Alenia Space to design, operate and deliver satellite-based systems that help them position and connect anyone or anything, everywhere, help observe our planet, help optimize the use of our planet's – and our solar system’s – resources. Thales Alenia Space believes in space as humankind’s new horizon, which will enable to build a better, more sustainable life on Earth. A joint venture between Thales (67%) and Leonardo (33%), Thales Alenia Space also teams up with Telespazio to form the parent companies’ Space Alliance, which offers a complete range of services and solutions. Thales Alenia Space posted consolidated revenues of about 2.4 billion euros in 2016 and has 7,980 employees in nine countries. For more information, click here.


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