Modular and Configurable Steel Structure for Assembly Fixtures 2010-01-1873
This paper will present the latest development of a configurable and modular steel construction system for use in frameworks of flexible fixtures of the kind called Affordable Reconfigurable Fixtures (ART). Instead of a dedicated aircraft fixture, which is very time consuming and expensive, the ART fixtures enable affordable construction from a standard component kit, by solving the main drawbacks of traditional tooling.
In early 2009 Airbus UK built the first steel modular fixture for the aerospace industry. The project was a partnership with DELFOi and Linköping University in a project called ReFlex, Reconfigurable Flexible Tooling. A paper was presented in the last year SAE conference which explained about the project in overall. The construction system called BoxJoint has recently been tested in some manufacturing areas at Airbus UK and also been applied in the production at Saab Aerospace Linköping Sweden. A case study was conducted of an A380 subassembly fixture demonstrating the comparable advantages of the new technology from the design phase until the first aircraft build.
One of the benefits reported is that a modular fixture relatively quickly can be assembled and set within specified tolerances by means of a metrology system, guiding configurable pickups and flags called Flexapods. Calculation of strength and stiffness can be made by simple standard methods.