Robotic Drilling System for 737 Aileron 2007-01-3821
Boeing's wholly owned subsidiary in Australia, Hawker de Havilland produces all ailerons for the Boeing 737 family of aircraft. Increasing production rates required to meet market demand drove the requirements for a new updated approach to assembly of these parts. Using lean principals, a pulsed flow line approach was developed. A component of this new line is the integration of a flexible robotic drilling/trimming system. The new robotic system is required to meet aggressive tack time targets with high levels of reliability.
The selected system was built on a Kuka KR360-2 conventional articulated arm robot. A significant challenge of this project was the requirement for the process head to work efficiently on an aileron in an existing jig. As a result a new side-mounted drill and trim end effector was developed. Automated tool changers for both cutters and pressure foot assemblies eliminated the requirement for in- process manual intervention. The robot was also configured to allow safe operation in two opposing work zones. This permitted the robot to continue working while parts are loaded and unloaded from an adjacent cell, improving the overall cell efficiency.