Analysis & Modeling Reduce Development Risks For Improving Integration of Large Aircraft Components 2002-01-2640
Historically the manufacturing of aircraft fuselages with capacities of 100+ passengers requires large panels and assemblies to be integrated through processes of manipulating them into proper alignment to one another, and then fastening the panels and assemblies together. The manipulating and alignment processes typically incorporate large handling devices and cranes to move the large panels and monolithic tools or measurement alignment systems to precisely align the aircraft components. After the individual panels and assemblies are properly aligned, they can be fastened together. Normally, the fastening process is performed manually with the aid of fastener location templates. There are problems with these processes. They require high capital investments for tooling and facilities; up to two shifts (16 hours) to complete the loading, indexing, and fastening operations; and depend on a highly skilled and knowledgeable work force to minimize discrepancies.
Three technologies that Boeing Manufacturing Research and Development (MR&D) are examining for large-scale integration are automation, determinant assembly and improved alignment and control systems. Since these technologies may be relatively expensive to develop and implement, MR&D is using analysis and modeling tools to reduce development risks and optimize technology applications. This report will examine and scrutinize applications where analysis and modeling are being used as aids in performing an automation study, a determinant assembly application, and an alignment and controls application.