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Technical Paper

The Design and Realisation of a Flexible Rapid Assembly Aero-Structure Manufacturing Cell – A Simulation Driven Approach

The use of simulation is a recognised part of the design process for automated systems and this has been particularly so in the development of the very large machines used in aero-structure manufacture. As part of an ongoing research project at the University of Nottingham a flexible rapid assembly cell is currently being developed that will be capable of manufacturing a number of different aero-structure sub-assemblies. ...As part of an ongoing research project at the University of Nottingham a flexible rapid assembly cell is currently being developed that will be capable of manufacturing a number of different aero-structure sub-assemblies. The individual technologies required such as riveting, drilling and assembly have been developed and the complete cell is now being realised.
Technical Paper

Design of a Reconfigurable Assembly Cell for Multiple Aerostructures

This paper presents novel development of a reconfigurable assembly cell which assembles multiple aerostructure products. Most aerostructure assembly systems are designed to produce one variant only. ...A state-of-the-art review finds significant benefits in deploying RAS for a group of aerostructures variants. What’s more, improvements to robot accuracy and decreasing costs of capital equipment means reconfigurable systems are becoming more economically viable.
Journal Article

Development of a Robotic System for Automated Drilling and Inspection of Small Aerostructures

This article describes the development of a robotic system for drilling and inspection for small aerostructure manufacturing specifically designed to tackle these requirements. The system comprises three work packages: connection within the digital thread (from concept through to operational metrics including Statistical Process Control), innovative lightweight / low energy drill, and auto tool-change with in-process metrology.
Technical Paper

Enhancement of 6M Methodology as a Design for Assembly Tool for Developing Effective Aerostructures Assembly Process Designs

Aerostructures assembly (ASA) is a vital process in any aircraft production phase that integrates individual detail parts, sub-assemblies, major assemblies, components, and systems into a final deliverable, a completed aircraft structure fit for flight. ...ASA depends on highly skilled manual labor work across the global aerospace supply chain for various assembly processes and subprocesses required for assembling detail parts into sub-assemblies and components to achieve the design intent of the load-carrying aerostructure that is airworthy for the complete operational cycle till disposal of an aircraft. ...The 6M enhanced framework is used to create as a process design tool, and the outputs of the research are converted in assessment guidelines, which were validated by a global aerospace accreditation body for its adoption in the aerostructures supply chain. This paper can also be used as a reference guide by ASA engineers to readily identify the factors that can impact any process, ensuring the highest quality and reliable aerostructures products to customers ensuring cost-effective On-Time Delivery (OTD).
Technical Paper

Automated Flexible Tooling for Wing Box Assembly: Hexapod Development Study

LOCOMACHS (Low Cost Manufacturing and Assembly of Composite and Hybrid Structures) - a European Union funded project with 31 partners - aims to address various aspects of aero-structure assembly with a special attention directed to the development of a new build philosophy along with relevant enabling technologies.
Technical Paper

Software to Enable Composite and Assembly Development Processes for Modern Airframes

Creating the initial designs and making subsequent changes to these complex aerostructures is both time-consuming and error-prone. In this article you will learn how a tightly integrated suite of software for aerostructure development greatly increases design and manufacturing efficiency of today's complex composite aircraft assemblies. ...In this article you will learn how a tightly integrated suite of software for aerostructure development greatly increases design and manufacturing efficiency of today's complex composite aircraft assemblies.
Journal Article

Evolution of Mobile Robotic Manufacturing Systems at Spirit AeroSystems

In conjunction with a number of supplier partners, Spirit has nearly 20 years’ worth of history and lessons learned regarding drilling and fastening processes performed by mobile industrial robotic systems including several new systems across multiple programs and aerostructure configurations.
Technical Paper

Efficient Procedure for Robust Optimal Design of Aerospace Laminated Structures

Innovative aircraft design studies have noted that uncertainty effects could become significant and greatly emphasized during the conceptual design phases due to the scarcity of information about the new aero-structure being designed. The introduction of these effects in design methodologies are strongly recommended in order to perform a consistent evaluation of structural integrity.
Technical Paper

Automated Assembly of Aircraft Structures at Avcorp Industries Inc., Aerostructures Division

Avcorp Industries Inc. recognized the need to reduce assembly labor costs in order to stay competitive with global competition. After two years of research and investigation it was determined that a joint project with Dassault Aviation provided the most viable solution. The key elements of the technology developed by Dassault were its high flexibility and rapid payback of capital investment. This paper describes the system and the application. The structure’s design and robotic system design were performed in parallel. A number of design challenges had to be overcome. Many of these issues encountered were common to any automated assembly application. By covering these challenges Avcorp was able to introduce automated assembly at a level that had typically been previously attained exclusively by much larger enterprises. The robotic system consists of two anthropomorphic robots, which work both individually and in tandem.
Technical Paper

A Study on the Development of Aerostructures Design for Assembly Guidelines and Their Effective Use to Proactively Identify Opportunities for Improvement in Mitigating Common Defects of the Aerostructures Assembly

An Aircraft’s assembly process plays a vital part in its design, development and production phases and contributes to about half of the Total cost spent in its entire product lifecycle. Design For Assembly (DFA®) principles have been one of the proven effective methodologies in Automotive and Process industries. Use of DFA® principles have resulted in proactively simplifying and optimizing engineering designs with reduced product costs, and improved efficiencies in product design and performance. Standardization of Assembly guidelines is vital for “Design and Build” and “Build-To-Print” manufacturing supplier organizations. However, Standardizing design methodologies, through use of proven tools like Advanced Product Quality Planning, (APQP) are still in the initial stages in Aerospace part and process design processes.
Technical Paper

11 Rules of Design for Manufacturing when Producing Pre-Impregnated Carbon Fiber-Reinforced Plastic Components - an Application at SAAB Aerostructures

To verify the technical content and ensure practicability, the rules were developed by, inter alia, studying literature and performing case studies at SAAB Aerostructures. The research was done through a collaboration between Linköping University and SAAB Aerostructures in a state-funded project. ...The research was done through a collaboration between Linköping University and SAAB Aerostructures in a state-funded project. This ensured a balanced approach between academic advancement and usefulness in commercial projects.
Technical Paper

A Study on Mitigating Head Gap Defects due to Radius of Externally Threaded Fasteners in Aerostructures Assembly

Externally threaded fasteners such as HI-LOK™, HI-TIGUE™, and HI-LITE™ fasteners are used in Aerospace Industry for their light weight, high strength, and controlled preloaded designs. These pins are offered in a variety of head styles, materials, finishes, and coatings. The pins are easily installed from one side, by one person, and quietly without the conventional riveting noise. In the design specifications of these pins, there is a radius R provided under the head which is to be accounted during manufacturing. The head radius, R comes with a manufacturing tolerance of 0.015 to 0.025 inch for standard sizes of 5/32 inch and 0.020 to 0.030 inch for higher sizes for protruding heads and similarly vary from 0.020 to 0.030 inch for 5/32-inch flush head style. As a general assembly practice, it is essential to deburr the edge of the holes to accommodate the head radius of the pins.
Technical Paper

A Fastener Analysis Addressing Various Types of Misfit and an Innovative Simple Design Solution - Part-II Monitoring the Joints for a Crack

The fastener analysis for an airframe panels under random cyclic loading conditions were analyzed with various elaborate solutions. But here a simple technique is proposed to analyze the problem. The fastener system in any structure could develop crack at the edges of the hole or at the fastener head rim location and propagate further between bolts. The sub- layer crack and micro cracks are hard to locate visually. Here a solution method is presented to detect the crack for various types of fastener conditions such as the fully contacted fastening, partial contact and no-contact condition. This is one of the useful tools to check the health of the fastening systems. Part I of this paper shows the necessity for a fix that arise in the initial misfit conditions. They also show the fastening efficiency for all the different condition. Here we would like to address the detection of a crack in any of the above fastening conditions.
Technical Paper

Contour Assessment of Formed Wing Panels

A procedure has been developed which utilizes finite element analysis methods in the contour assessment of formed wing panels. The procedure utilizes a finite element model reflecting the bi-directional stiffnesses of the panel in conjunction with local deviations from contour derived from reported inspection data. Final assembly fit-up forces are predicted and compared to the maximum allowable fit-up forces specified on the engineering drawing. The procedure also provides for the determination of local gap conditions with the panel subjected to the allowable fit-up forces. The local gap conditions are compared to the shimming allowances specified on the engineering drawing. These comparisons provide a basis for ascertaining the necessity for contour adjustments. Early detection of the need for contour adjustment minimizes the schedule impact and cost of the rework.
Technical Paper

Automatic Drilling, Countersink and Riveting Experience. Aernnova Highlights Based on More Than 20 Million of Fasteners Installed

Aernnova experience on automatic drilling operations started in 1,999. The company signed a new contract with Embraer, to design, manufacture and assembly several structures of the model 170. It was big news for the company. But after that minute of pride, manufacturing engineering people of the company started to think about the process to assemble those big panels of the Horizontal Stabilizer, Vertical Stabilizer and Rear Fuselages in the best Quality and Cost. There were a lot of rows of rivets to install. Some ideas arisen, but the final decision was to forget the available processes at that time and think about to automate the drilling, countersink and riveting of the stringers, doublers and window frames to the panels. There were a lot of doubts, figures to do and obstacles, but the company took the decision of going ahead with that process. That step changed the state of the art at that time in the company.
Technical Paper

Collaborative Robot Applications at GKN Aerospace’s Fokker Business

Both Fokker Aerostructures and Fokker Landing Gear wanted to gain experience with this technology and worked together in the preparation of 2 projects to be showcased in their companies. ...Fokker Aerostructures concentrated on the application of handling of an Automatic Drilling Unit (ADU) for the production of the A350 Outboard Flap.