1998-09-15

Flexible Assembly System 982150

This paper describes the application of an automated machine tool system used in the assembly process of a military aircraft wing torque box, manufactured by The Boeing Company. Traditional approaches to the wing assembly production involve manual framing, drilling, and installation steps. This program first introduced an automated drilling system during the Engineering/Manufacturing Development phase of this project. In a continuous search to optimize the wing assembly process, Boeing decided to go beyond this level of automation. The idea was to introduce an automated system to drill, ream, countersink, inspect holes, seal prior to fastener insertion, and install various types of fasteners. This paper will examine and outline the production constraints that lead to the requirements of the automated system. System capabilities as they apply to the wing production requirements are presented. The current and proposed assembly techniques are described. Design decisions are reviewed and conclusions presented. Considerations for interface of the system with production operations are addressed.

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