Engineers at PushCorp Inc. of Garland, Texas, needed a real-time operating system for a new robotic composite aircraft repair system. They found their solution in the Realtime ETS Kernel from Phar Lap Software Inc. of Cambridge, Mass.
PushCorp specialists are working under a small business innovative research contract from the U.S. Naval Air Warfare Research Center at Patuxent River Naval Air Station, Md., to create the Scarfing Tool for Automated Repair of Composites - SCARF, for short.
SCARF is a light-weight system that attaches a robotic manipulator to composite aircraft such as the Navy F/A-18 and V-22, as well as to the U.S. Air Force B-2 bomber and future F-22 fighter and Joint Strike Fighter, explains Lester Godwin, PushCorp vice president.
"With a bird strike or battle damage, you need to machine a dish-type profile out around the actual hole," Godwin explains. "Then you need to replace each ply layer and heat the resin so it restores the structural integrity of the skin. Our device machines that profile in preparation of the repair operation."
The Phar Lap real-time kernel enables PushCorp engineers to write and debug software easily from their desktop PCs. "The Phar Lap software is the real time operating system to control the robot," Godwin says. "It is based on the Win 32 kernel, and it has saved me extraordinary time. I can do all my development on a standard desktop system under Windows NT. I don`t need to recompile. I can just re-link with their linker tool, and run the code on our embedded system with zero code changes."
The SCARF system runs on an embedded Intel Pentium 133 MHz single-board computer. - J.K.
For more information on the ETS Kernel, contact Maria Vetrano of Phar Lap by phone at 617-661-1510, by fax at 617-876-2972, by post at 670 Aberdeen Ave., Cambridge, Mass., 02138, or on the World Wide Web at http://www.pharlap.com/.