Fixturing and Tooling for Wing Assembly with Reconfigurable Datum System Pickup 2011-01-2556
The aerospace manufacturing sector is continuously seeking automation due to increased demand for the next generation single-isle aircraft. In order to reduce weight and fuel consumption aircraft manufacturers have increasingly started to use more composites as part of the structure. The manufacture and assembly of composites poses different constraints and challenges compared to the more traditional aircraft build consisting of metal components. In order to overcome these problems and to achieve the desired production rate existing manufacturing technologies have to be improved. New technologies and build concepts have to be developed in order to achieve the rate and ramp up of production and cost saving. This paper investigates how to achieve the rib hole key characteristic (KC) in a composite wing box assembly process. When the rib hole KC is out of tolerances, possibly, the KC can be achieved by imposing it by means of adjustable tooling and fixturing elements. A test rig has been designed and built that is used to experimentally investigate the capability of both the tooling and fixturing concepts. Some experiments have been carried out that successfully demonstrate the capability of the reconfigurable fixturing technology to achieve the rib hole KC.