Automated Systems for Aerospace and Space Applications
I.D. # C1313 Duration 2 Days

The rapidly evolving demand for cost reductions and shrinking budgets makes the use of automated processes within the aerospace and space industries a necessity.     While some view aerospace automation as the solution to reducing costs, others view automation technologies and processes as something that should be avoided when possible. Misunderstandings and assumptions about these complex systems can result in the improper selection and application of these systems, often leading to undesirable outcomes and potentially, project failure. 

This two-day seminar introduces the critical components of automation necessary to be knowledgeable about the acquisition, installation, and maintenance of automated systems for aerospace and space applications.  The instructor will guide participants through the types, components, operation, application, cost benefits, laws, strengths, and limitations of automation.   The seminar covers the breadth and scope necessary for participants to be an effective participant in the decision process when automation has become a consideration to replacing tasks previously done by hand.

Attendees will receive a copy of the textbook, Automated/Mechanized Drilling and Countersinking of Airframes, by instructor George (Nick) Bullen. 

Learning Objectives
By attending this seminar, you will be able to:
  • Understand the function of automation in an aerospace factory
  • Decide if automation is right for your factory or application
  • Select the right automation for your application
  • Install, transition to production, and maintain the selected automation
  • Perform a feasibility analysis and an Return on Investment (ROI) for factory automation

Who Should Attend
This course is designed for all personnel interested in acquiring an understanding of the power and pitfalls of automation before purchase and how to select and install the right automation.
There are no prerequisites for the course.
Seminar Content
  • Historical Perspective: Why Airframes Have Holes
    • The Airframe
    • Aluminum
    • Rivets
    • Assembly Tooling
    • Titanium
    • Hand Tools and Drills
    • Composites
    • Tooling and Composites
    • On-Assembly Drilling
  • Airframe Manufacturing Cost Drivers
    • Why Reduce Cost
    • Defining Cost
    • Identifying Manufacturing Related Costs
  • Incentives and Disincentives to Automate
    • Military Automation Disincentive
    • Military Producers Incentives to Automate
    • Commercial Disincentives
    • Commercial Incentives
  • Types of Automation
    • Motion
    • Action
    • Controller
    • Calibration
    • Sustainability
  • Considerations before Replacing Hand operations with Mechanization or Automation
    • Before the Decision to Automate
    • Go- Ahead Decision Criteria
  • How to Choose the Right Automation
    • Three Don'ts
    • References
    • Requirements Document
  • Installation Steps
    • Mapping the Existing Process
    • Mapping the New Process
    • Requirements Document
    • Platform Specification
    • Request for Proposal
    • Manufacturing Readiness level (MRL) Consideration
    • Performance Measurement Tools
    • Factory Acceptance
    • Installation and Test
  • Test Procedures
    • Unique Tests
    • Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC)
  • Transition to Production
    • TTP Document and Transfer of Responsibility, Accountability, and Authority
    • TTP Technology Readiness Levels
    • TTP Manufacturing Readiness Level
    • TTP and Product Delivery Team Composition and Selection
    • TTP Document
    • TTP Risk Identification and Assessment
    • Validation of System to Production Requirements: Exit Criteria
  • Training
    • Who to Train
  • Maintenance
    • Complexity-New Normal
    • Impact Prevention
    • Predictive Maintenance (PdM)
    • Prognostic Health Monitoring (PHM)
    • Maintenance
    • Buying Maintenance
    • Troubleshooting
  • Social Impact
    • Pacifying the Human Capability-Machine Experience
    • Perception of ubiquitous automation
    • Safe, secure, and ethical automation
    • Management for Automated Systems
    • Organizations
    • Customers
  • Future State of Airframes and Automation Summary
    • Economics
    • Manufacturing Exodus
    • Exit the autoclave
    • Automation or Labor
    • Fastener alternatives

Instructor(s): George (Nick) Bullen

George N Bullen has returned to Northrop Grumman Corporation as Technical Fellow and Subject Matter Expert (SME) for Advanced Manufacturing Technology Development and Innovation.


Mr. Bullen is an internationally recognized expert and consultant to industry for the manufacture of commercial, military, and private fixed and rotary wing air vehicles, rockets, missiles, and space vehicles. His expertise includes inhabited and uninhabited aerial vehicles, space vehicle design and manufacture, laser weapon system design and manufacture, and lean processes and applications.  He has been engaged with the design-through-manufacture of over 72 air and space vehicles since 1968 in aerospace. He has been awarded 16 U.S. and international patents for technology innovations related to manufacturing, mechanization, robotics, robotics control software, and nuclear testing/quality metrology devices, that are the basis for all current automated systems for the assembly of airframes in the U.S., Europe, Asia, and Russia. He recently filed patent applications for industry recognized disruptive metrology technologies that are emerging as the standard for automating the assembly of airframes. George N Bullen is a Fellow in the Society of Manufacturing Engineers, (FSME); Certified in Production and Inventory Control Management, (CPIM); has an MBA from Loyola Marymount University, BSMG degree from Pepperdine University; ASBA degree from Mesa College and is currently finishing his PhD in Decision Sciences, Engineering Research. Mr. Bullen has published five books on the manufacture and assembly of airframes including Automated/Mechanized Drilling and Countersinking of Airframes, The Economics of Composites, and Aluminum Auto Body Joining published by SAE International; and Successful Composites Technology Transfer, Lessons Learned from NASA¿s MLAS Program published by SME.  His next book The Future of the Airplane Factory: Digitally Optimized Intelligent Airplane Assembly is due to be published in late 2018. He is widely published in magazines, conference proceedings, and peer-review journals. In 2014 he received SAE International¿s Forest McFarland Award, and in 2000 the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) Design Engineering Award for significant advances in aerospace engineering. In December 2010 he retired from Northrop Grumman Corporation (NGC) after 28 years.  His responsibility at Northrop Grumman Corp. was to identify; develop and implement innovative enabling business processes and technologies for accomplishing the strategic vision of the corporation.

He maintains membership on academic boards of major universities; is a member of the strategic planning and steering committees of professional societies; and is founder of the International Aerospace Automation Consortium. He also is a board member of the RFID supply chain governing body, EPC Global.

Fees: $1299 SAE Members: $1169


CEU 1.3