There is the need to strive towards more advanced aircraft with the use of materials such as composites, and a desire to improve efficiency by achieving and maintaining laminar flow over a large proportion of the aircraft wing. Due to the high tolerances required to achieve laminar flow, the manufacturing processes and tooling will have to be revaluated to enable successful manufacture in a production environment. A major influence in achieving the key characteristics and tolerances is the assembly fixture.
This paper details the design and manufacture of a carbon fibre based assembly fixture, required for a one-off build of an innovative leading edge wing concept. The fixture has been designed and optimised in order to make it adaptable, reconfigurable, and suitable for lifting as well as being thermally stable whilst maintaining laminar flow tolerances.
The adaptability and re-configurability will allow the fixture to be altered to suit different build stages and enable fixture modifications as and when required. This project is a joint collaboration with Airbus, Aerotech, FlexProp and the Manufacturing Technology Centre (MTC).