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Photos: RoboCranes at work

New "floating" robotic cranes can handle formerly difficult and expensive aircraft-maintenance tasks much more quickly and safely.
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1 of 2 Bill Detwiler/ZDNet

AMP strips paint off plane

A worker in a protective cab on a platform, called a RoboCrane, developed by the National Institute of Standards and Technology. Known as an aerial multiaxis platform, or AMP, the platform is suspended in air by a web of computer-controlled cables, allowing its operator to strip paint off this U.S. Air Force C-130 with relative ease.

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2 of 2 Bill Detwiler/ZDNet

close-up of the cab

Adapted for use by the Air Force, the RoboCrane AMP promises to drastically reduce paint-stripping time per plane, cut maintenance costs and reduce incidents of operator stress and injury. Several paint-stripping nozzles on the AMP work simultaneously to reduce by 40 to 50 percent the time it takes to strip an entire plane--a time savings of about four to five days for the C130 shown here.

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