OC Robotics develops snake-arm robots for working in confined and hazardous spaces. They are guided by wire ropes, and controlled by proprietary software, to traverse cluttered environments and conduct activities such as inspection, fastening, and cleaning.

GE Aviation Buys Robotics Developer

June 12, 2017
Snake-arm robots and software for confined workspaces augments engine service program Component-repair capabilities, efficiency Borescope inspection/blending Gearbox repair/removal

GE Aviation acquired OC Robotics for an undisclosed price, explaining the British automation systems designer would enhance its ground-based engine repair and service programs. OC Robotics is 20-year-old developer noted for manufacturing commercial snake-arm robots and software for confined and hazardous environments.

"OC Robotics will play an important role in how we service our customers' engines," stated Jean Lydon-Rodgers, vice president and general manager of GE Aviation's Services organization. "This acquisition will expand our component-repair development capabilities and increase the efficiency of the On Wing Support team as they perform inspections and repairs on our customers' engines."

On Wing Support is an operating unit of GE Aviation that offers regulatory certification and OEM engineering support for complex engine repairs. The team provides 24/7 services and repairs "at the flight line" for all GE and CFM engines, including borescope inspection/blending, line replaceable unit, fan module, gearbox repair/removal, and other similar tasks.

The acquisition’s flexible snake-arm robots have a reach of more than 3 meters and a cumulative bend of more than 180 degrees, allowing them to work in tight spots conducting tasks like inspections, fastening, and cleaning if outfitted with end-of-arm tooling. OC Robotics devices are in use in aerospace, nuclear, petrochemical, security, and construction sectors in Europe, North America, and Asia.

OC Robotics technical director Andy Graham said, "For 15 years, OC Robotics invested heavily to develop snake-arm robot technologies, and the aviation industry has always been a target area for this technology."