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Co-Bot Robotic Arm (COBRA) Range


OUSD (R&E) CRITICAL TECHNOLOGY AREA(S): Integrated Sensing and Cyber; Human-Machine Interfaces; Advanced Computing and Software


The technology within this topic is restricted under the International Traffic in Arms Regulation (ITAR), 22 CFR Parts 120-130, which controls the export and import of defense-related material and services, including export of sensitive technical data, or the Export Administration Regulation (EAR), 15 CFR Parts 730-774, which controls dual use items. Offerors must disclose any proposed use of foreign nationals (FNs), their country(ies) of origin, the type of visa or work permit possessed, and the statement of work (SOW) tasks intended for accomplishment by the FN(s) in accordance with the Announcement. Offerors are advised foreign nationals proposed to perform on this topic may be restricted due to the technical data under US Export Control Laws.


OBJECTIVE: System should be fully automated with an integrated approach to radome testing. Should utilize co-bot and radio frequency (RF) software and include a user friendly interface. New system should reduce the testing time for the end item, increase reliability and sustainability of the test system and increase the security of personnel operating the equipment.


DESCRIPTION: Would like for project to deliver an upgraded robot, upgrade operating system to windows 10 or newer and upgraded software and hardware. Rewrite of software should include redefined scan patterns to help improve efficiency. New user interface should integrate robot motion scan patterns and RF measurement collection to a single platform to fully automate the testing process. New system should use commercial off the shelf parts to guarantee supportability of the equipment for years to come. Lastly will need to include the development of a range check-out procedure for verification and calibration of range by the user.


PHASE I: As this is a Direct-to-Phase-II (D2P2) topic, no Phase I awards will be made as a result of this topic. To qualify for this D2P2 topic, the Government expects the applicant(s) to demonstrate feasibility by means of a prior “Phase I-type” effort that does not constitute work undertaken as part of a prior or ongoing SBIR/STTR funding agreement.


Collaborative Robots (Co-bots) are widely used in the manufacturing industry to collect measurements, probe, scan and successfully perform repetitive functions. Co-bots have demonstrated that they can be safely integrated for the use in non-destructive inspections (NDI) in many facets of the manufacturing industry. By arming the cobots with the correct hardware we can expand their usability and show they can be used to perform the electrical testing of various aircraft radomes. Equipping these co-bots with RF antenna probes and or standard gain horns will enable them to successfully create a two horn interferometer for the collection of RF measurements. This application should facilitate and improve the radome testing capabilities substantially if integrated with the use of proximity sensor and scanning technology.


PHASE II: The expected outcome of Phase II is for the vendor to develop, deliver, install, and commission: two co-bots capable of performing the required inspections and prove the motion synchronization and alignment system. Phase II should also lead to the production of the positioners required for the installation of the co-bots. Should demonstrate the system's ability to perform the required testing for B-1B radomes, which includes the tail cone, wing gloves and scuppers. This phase should also lead to the production of the necessary hardware required to mount the antennas to the end-of-arm of the co-bots. These mounts should make it easy for end user to change the required antennas on both co-bots. Vendor will also be required to develop, deliver and demonstrate the operating system and software necessary for the operation of the robots. Software delivered should have the ability to port existing scan patterns and allow end users to train co-bots. Software should also provide the ability for the editing and development of new patterns by allowing the users to manually guide co-bots. Software should also demonstrate that it is cable to execute the position based triggering necessary to fully automate testing procedures and allow for the collection of RF measurements and for the processing of the data collected during test.


PHASE III DUAL USE APPLICATIONS: Upon entry of Phase III, the project will be a minimum of TRL 7 with a target of meeting TRL 9. Once the system has been proven to work the plan is to perform developmental test and evaluate the system to ensure it meets design specifications. Ensure that the system is operational in its final configuration under the environmental condition it is expected to operate in and assess any problems and develop plans to resolve problems before finalizing the design. Verify system's actual application in its final form and under mission conditions. If the Phase II is successful in developing the needed technology, the ALC can/will purchase technology using organization working capital funds.





KEYWORDS: Co-bots; interface; radio frequency; radome testing; probe antenna; standard gain horn; antenna; positioner

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