Easily Manipulated Mechanical Arm
EMMA is a product built by Temple Allen Industries
Temple Allen Industries
Temple Allen Industries is the manufacturer of the EMMA , designed for use in the aerospace, defense, and marine markets. TAI was founded in 2002 and is headquartered in Rockville, MD.-History:...

. EMMA (Easily Manipulated Mechanical Arm) uses patented technology to allow workers to operate sanding equipment more safely and productively. EMMA is a manually controlled, pneumatically powered
Pneumatics is a branch of technology, which deals with the study and application of use of pressurized gas to effect mechanical motion.Pneumatic systems are extensively used in industry, where factories are commonly plumbed with compressed air or compressed inert gases...

, mechanical arm that is designed for use during the sanding stages of production and maintenance operations in aerospace, marine, industrial, and military markets. EMMA is not a robot; only a source of pressurized air
Gas compressor
A gas compressor is a mechanical device that increases the pressure of a gas by reducing its volume.Compressors are similar to pumps: both increase the pressure on a fluid and both can transport the fluid through a pipe. As gases are compressible, the compressor also reduces the volume of a gas...

 is needed for operation. It requires no programming, no microprocessor, and no electricity. EMMA increases productivity by producing a fine, consistent, and even surface finish at rates up to 10 times faster than traditional manual sanding
A sander is a power tool used to smooth wood and automotive or wood finishes by abrasion with sandpaper. Sanders have a means to attach the sandpaper and a mechanism to move it rapidly contained within a housing with means to hand-hold it or fix it to a workbench. Woodworking sanders are usually...



Each EMMA system consists of four basic components: the Actuation Package, the Joystick Controls Box, the Arm, and the End-effector. These elements work in harmony to provide the operator with a safer sanding experience, reducing both man hours and fatigue, to generate a finished product of high quality.
  • The Actuation Package contains the pneumatic assemblies and cylinders that control the locomotion of EMMA. These assemblies and cylinders generate negligible lag time from operator input and provide smooth stops and starts throughout use. An auto-adjust feature allows the operator to maintain consistent unit pressure on the surface with high precision.

  • The Joystick
    A joystick is an input device consisting of a stick that pivots on a base and reports its angle or direction to the device it is controlling. Joysticks, also known as 'control columns', are the principal control in the cockpit of many civilian and military aircraft, either as a center stick or...

     Controls Box
    is the interface through which the operator directly controls the movements of EMMA and the sanding elements located on the End-Effector. Two joysticks allow the operator a generous range of motion
    Range of motion
    Range of motion , is the distance that a movable object may normally travel while properly attached to another object. It is also called range of travel, particularly when talking about mechanical devices and in mechanical engineering fields...

     and the ability to control speed of movement through rate-control signals.

  • The Arm replicates the complex motions of a human during manual sanding operations while shielding the operator from the risks of vibration-related injuries and repetitive stress. Its polyurethane
    A polyurethane is any polymer composed of a chain of organic units joined by carbamate links. Polyurethane polymers are formed through step-growth polymerization, by reacting a monomer with another monomer in the presence of a catalyst.Polyurethanes are...

     core absorbs vibration while its mechanical components support the pneumatic tools that are deployed via the End-Effector. The system's Arm utilizes a sweeping motion that allows the operator to access a significant amount of surface areas from a static location.

  • The End-Effector is the component through which the sander(s) are deployed and contact is made with the product being sanded. The End-Effector consists of a mounting frame that accommodates the appropriate type and number of sanders, plus vacuum
    Vacuum cleaner
    A vacuum cleaner, commonly referred to as a "vacuum," is a device that uses an air pump to create a partial vacuum to suck up dust and dirt, usually from floors, and optionally from other surfaces as well. The dirt is collected by either a dustbag or a cyclone for later disposal...

     connectivity to collect generated particulate matter.

Health and Safety

While EMMA allows the operator levels of control equivalent to that of manual sanding, it largely eliminates the vibrations and high grip forces that contribute to Hand Arm Vibration Syndrome (HAVS), also known as Vibration white finger
Vibration white finger
Vibration white finger is a secondary form of Raynaud's syndrome, an industrial injury triggered by continuous use of vibrating hand-held machinery. Use of the term Vibration White Finger has generally been superseded by Hand-Arm Vibration Syndrome or HAVS...

, thus reducing the potential for traumatic injuries and their associated medical costs. The mechanical arm can also support multiple heavy and powerful tools that would be impossible for a human to wield alone.

By choosing to implement EMMA (with its integrated vacuum system) in their hangars and sanding booths, major aerospace companies are making efforts to better protect their workforce from hazardous conditions associated with sanding – with EMMA, dangerous and carcinogenic dust is collected at the source. Otherwise, overexposure to cadmium
Cadmium poisoning
Cadmium is an extremely toxic metal commonly found in industrial workplaces. Due to its low permissible exposure limit, overexposures may occur even in situations where trace quantities of cadmium are found. Cadmium is used extensively in electroplating, although the nature of the operation does...

, lead
Lead poisoning
Lead poisoning is a medical condition caused by increased levels of the heavy metal lead in the body. Lead interferes with a variety of body processes and is toxic to many organs and tissues including the heart, bones, intestines, kidneys, and reproductive and nervous systems...

, and hexavalent chromium can cause vital organ failure. These three chemicals, prevalent in aircraft paint, have a low Permissible Exposure Limit (PEL)
Permissible Exposure Limit
The permissible exposure limit is a legal limit in the United States for exposure of an employee to a chemical substance or physical agent. For chemicals, the chemical regulation is usually expressed in parts per million , or sometimes in milligrams per cubic metre . Units of measure for physical...

 by OSHA
Occupational Safety and Health Administration
The United States Occupational Safety and Health Administration is an agency of the United States Department of Labor. It was created by Congress of the United States under the Occupational Safety and Health Act, signed by President Richard M. Nixon, on December 29, 1970...

standards, thus EMMA is currently a popular option for organizations in the aerospace and defense industries that perform surface preparation.
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