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Automated Systems for Aerospace and Space Applications C1313

The rapidly evolving demand for cost reductions and shrinking budgets makes the application and 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 interactions with other elements of the assembly process and potentially, project failure.

This two-day seminar introduces participants to the critical components of automation necessary to be informed and 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 information presented in this seminar will cover 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.

Day One

  • 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


Day Two

  • 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


George (Nick) Bullen

bullen_george" Mr. Nick Bullen is the President and CEO of Smart Blades, Inc. Located in Oxnard, California, Smart Blades designs and develops highly efficient wind turbine blades and modular facilities for in-situ wind turbine blade manufacturing. Previously, Mr. Bullen was Principal Engineer, Technical Fellow, and Technical Expert for Advanced Manufacturing Technology and Advanced Programs for Northrop Grumman Corporation. His expertise includes inhabited and uninhabited aerial vehicles, space vehicle design and manufacture, laser weapon system design and manufacture, and Lean processes and applications. Mr. Bullen has been awarded 16 US and International patents for technology innovations related to manufacturing, mechanization, robotics, robotics control software and nuclear testing/quality devices that are the basis for all current automated systems used for the assembly of airframes in the US and Europe. Mr. Bullen is a Fellow in the Society of Manufacturing Engineers and is certified in Production and Inventory Control Management. He actively serves and maintains membership on academic boards of several major universities, is a member of the steering committees of professional societies including SAE and SME, and is founder of the International Aerospace Automation Consortium. He also is a board member of the RFID supply chain governing body, EPC Global. A widely published author in magazines, proceedings, journals and peer review journals, he received the AIAA Design Engineering Award in 2000 for Significant Advances in Aerospace Engineering. Mr. Bullen received his BSMG degree from Pepperdine University, an MBA from Loyola Marymount University, and is currently finishing his PhD in Decision Sciences, Engineering Research.

Hotel & Travel Information

Fees: $1370.00
SAE Members: $1096.00 - $1233.00

1.3 CEUs
You must complete all course contact hours and successfully pass the learning assessment to obtain CEUs.

To register, click Register button at the top of this page and submit the online form, or contact SAE Customer Service at 1-877-606-7323 (724/776-4970 outside the U.S. and Canada) or at

Duration: 2 Days
June 18-19, 2018 (8:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.) - Hamburg, Germany   Delivered in   English