There is an increasing demand in the aerospace industry for automated machinery that is portable, flexible and light. This paper will focus on a joint project between BROETJE-Automation and Boeing called the Universal Splice Machine (USM). The USM is a portable, flexible and lightweight automated drilling and fastening machine for longitudinal splices.
The USM is the first machine of its kind that has the ability not only to drill holes without the need to deburr, (burrless drilling) but also to insert fasteners. The Multi Function End Effector (MFEE) runs on a rail system that is mounted directly on the fuselage using a vacuum cup system. Clamp up is achieved through the use of an advanced electromagnet. A control cart follows along next to the fuselage and includes an Automated Fastener Feeding System. This paper will show how this new advancement has the capabilities to fill gaps in aircraft production that automation has never reached before.