Electroimpact has recently produced a high-speed fuselage panel fastening machine which utilizes an all-electric, CNC-controlled squeeze process for rivet upset and bolt insertion. The machine is designed to fasten skin panels to stringers, shear ties, and other internal fuselage components. A high riveting rate of 15 rivets per minute was achieved on the first-generation E7000 machine. This rate includes drilling, insertion, and upset of headed fuselage rivets. The rivets are inserted by a roller screw-driven upper actuator, with rivet upset performed by a lower actuator driven by a high-load-capacity ball screw. The rivet upset process can be controlled using either position- or load-based feedback.
The E7000 machine incorporates a number of systems to increase panel processing speed, improve final product quality, and minimize operator intervention. The upper riveting head includes automatic tool changers for drills and upper anvils, both designed with very fast tool changes as a primary goal. The machine also includes fastener verification laser curtains to ensure the fastener being inserted is the correct type and length, and oriented properly. The system has automatic calibration functionality to calibrate normality and stringer tracing sensors, as well as upper and lower die lengths. Additionally, an automatic machine vision system provides high-speed, high-accuracy part resynchronization across a wide range of surfaces for improved local accuracy.
The E7000 automated fuselage riveter is a fast, robust and flexible system that can be used to fasten a wide range of fuselage panels, while improving reliability and final product quality.