1998-09-15

ASAT4-Enhanced Flexibility for the C-17 982126

The Automated Spar Assembly Tool or ASAT was originally developed for the Boeing 767 wing spar in the late 1970s. Since then this powerful concept has been further advanced and integrated into nearly all the current Boeing commercial wing lines. A fourth generation system, ASAT4, has been developed for the Boeing C-17 Globemaster III. ASAT4 provides an unprecedented level of flexibility in a minimum amount of floor space. Similar to ASAT3, ASAT4 consists of a vertical traveling yoke machine which straddles the spar fixtures. Two fixtures placed end to end form a system approximately 220 feet in length which is serviced by a single machine. This allows manual operations, e.g. load and unload, to be performed on one spar while the machine works in the adjacent cell. Each fixture can accept any of the six C-17 spars. Fixture reconfiguration between spars is completely automatic. The single three axis yoke machine, the E5000, travels the full system length. The yoke is simply supported on the side of a rigid gantry structure. The E5000 has completely redundant tool heads on both legs of the yoke. This permits drilling and fastener insertion from either side of the spar.

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