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Washbot

A robot to clean airplanes

  • Semi-automatic machine that can clean without leaving soap or wastewater on the tarmac
  • Innovation funding Smarthub Vlaams-Brabant

In a nutshell

Comate, BP Precision Airline Services and the Province of Flemish Brabant join forces to develop a robot that can clean an aircraft without spilling a drop of soap or wastewater on the tarmac. By doing this, wastewater will no longer be mixed with rainwater. The robot will bring an enormous improvement on an ecological and ergonomic level and will take the first step towards automation.

Funding for the Washbot project

The full story

BP Precision Airline Services is the leading partner for cleaning the interior and exterior of an aircraft at Belgian airports. For ecological reasons, airports have recently been required to completely separate wastewater and rainwater. It is therefore important that no soap or wastewater ends up on the tarmac when cleaning an aircraft. Sounds simple, but it is not as obvious as it seems. To meet this requirement, BP invests in the development of an innovative semi-automatic robot: the Washbot.

For the development of the Washbot, BP Precision Airline Services relies on the expertise of Comate. The team of engineers and designers was involved in the development from the very beginning. This summer, they delivered a working prototype with a ‘washing head’ that would be the functional part during the process of washing (the part that touches the fuselage and provides effective cleaning). The tank stores the wastewater and it can be purified separately. In the next phase, the movement of this `washing head´ will be optimized and the robot will be prepared for commercialization. For this purpose, the project received an innovation subsidy from the Province of Flemish Brabant.

The semi-automatic machine will be able to wash an aircraft quickly, with high quality and in an ecological way, without leaving soap or wastewater on the tarmac. Automating the cleaning activities of an aircraft will be a huge step forward in terms of efficiency. There is already a great deal of interest from major players in aviation.

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