1993-09-01

FACAI - A Flexible Assembly Cell for Aeronautical Industry 931770

The Flexible Assembly Cell for Aeronautical Industry (FACAI) is described. The cell was developed in order to take advantage of the benefit of hard automation while retaining the flexibility of the manual assembly system it replaces.A description of both the generic equipment, selected to be non-specific to both the process and the assemblies intended to be built, is provided.In addition, all specific hardware, including end-effectors and fastener distribution systems are described, along with the rationale for their choice. The reasons for the modular design are explained.The means by which the flexibility goal was achieved are outlined. The demonstrated ability of the cell to install a wide range of fasteners (solid rivets, lockbolts, Hilocks) without the need for manual reconfiguration is detailed.The means by which both the quality and safety goals were attained are explained. Stringent requirements in both areas were met by using sensors which both control the process and monitor the location of the parts that make up the assembly. The means by which these sensors satisfy the need for feedback concerning the process as well as providing SPC data are discussed.Finally, a description of the PEGASUS software system, the key to the successful integration of all the necessary technologies into an easy-to-run-and-to-program cell is provided. The ability of PEGASUS to manage the construction of a number of different assemblies, in an easy-to-use automated cell is explained since it was a key element in the system’s successful implementation.

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