Automated Assembly of Aircraft Structures at Avcorp Industries Inc., Aerostructures Division 1999-01-3427
Avcorp Industries Inc. recognized the need to reduce assembly labor costs in order to stay competitive with global competition. After two years of research and investigation it was determined that a joint project with Dassault Aviation provided the most viable solution.
The key elements of the technology developed by Dassault were its high flexibility and rapid payback of capital investment.
This paper describes the system and the application. The structure’s design and robotic system design were performed in parallel. A number of design challenges had to be overcome. Many of these issues encountered were common to any automated assembly application. By covering these challenges Avcorp was able to introduce automated assembly at a level that had typically been previously attained exclusively by much larger enterprises.
The robotic system consists of two anthropomorphic robots, which work both individually and in tandem. The operations performed include drilling, countersinking, sealant application, cleco insertion, as well as the installation of blind fasteners, solid fasteners and hi-lites. This system is currently performing integration tests and will enter production in fourth quarter 1999. Development testing has substantiated our estimates concerning cost reduction and quality enhancement.