The back-breaking task of lifting heavy aircraft tires for inspection has gotten a lot easier thanks to some robotic magic.
Previously, mechanics in Robins Air Force Base's C-5 Galaxy wheel and tire shop lifted 250-pound tires and rims by hand to get them mounted and in place for inspection and re-assembly.
Now, the addition of an Ergo Control 300 Robot-a 5-foot-tall tire and wheel vehicle with movable fixtures-has lightened the load for aircraft mechanics like David Moniz and Darren Rew.
``Roughly, there are 28 wheel assemblies for every C-5 that comes through our shop,'' Mr. Moniz said. ``We tear them down, inspect them, rebuild them, assemble them and certify that they're in accordance with the tech data, as far as safety compliances. If there aren't any defects, we send them back out to the C-5 landing gear shop to go on the aircraft.''
The wheel transportation dolly and the robot's L-shaped arm make the one-hour process a lot safer, he said.
``It rotates the tire up and puts it in whatever position we need to install the hardware for fusing the tire back together, and it's all done electronically now,'' Mr. Moniz said. ``It has (made) a job that used to take two people...into a one-person job.''