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Technical Paper

Improved Briles Rivet Forming Using High-Speed Force Feedback and Improved Die Geometry

2019-03-19
2019-01-1377
Electroimpact and Kawasaki Heavy Industries (KHI) have produced a new riveting process for the forming of Briles type rivets in Boeing 777 and 777X fuselage assemblies. The Briles rivet is typically used for fuselage assembly and is unique in that it has a self-sealing head. Unlike conventional headed rivets such as the NAS1079, this fastener does not require aircraft sealant under the head to be fluid tight. This unique fastener makes for a difficult fastening process due to the fact that interference must be maintained between the hole and fastener shank, as well as along the sides of the fastener head. Common issues with the formed fasteners include gapping under the fastener head and along the shank of the fastener. Electroimpact has employed a host of different technologies to combat these issues with Briles fastening. First, Electroimpact’s patented “Air Gap” system allows the machine to confirm that the head of the rivet is fully seated in the countersink prior to forming.
Technical Paper

Automatic Tool Change System for Stringer Side Rivet and Bolt Anvils on a D-Frame or C-Frame Fuselage Fastening Machine

2017-09-19
2017-01-2080
Manually changing stringer-side tooling on an automatic fastening machine is time consuming and can be susceptible to human error. Stringer-side tools can also be physically difficult to manage because of their weight, negatively impacting the experience and safety of the machine operator. A solution to these problems has recently been developed by Electroimpact for use with its new Fuselage Skin Splice Fastening Machine. The Automatic Tool Changer makes use of a mechanically passive gripper system capable of securely holding and maneuvering twelve tools weighing 40 pounds each inside of a space-saving enclosure. The Automatic Tool Changer is mounted directly to the stringer side fastening head, meaning the machine is capable of changing tools relatively quickly while maintaining its position on the aircraft panel with no machine operator involvement.
Technical Paper

Neighboring Mobile Robot Cell with Drilling and Fastening

2017-09-19
2017-01-2094
Electroimpact, in collaboration with Boeing, has developed an advanced robotic assembly cell, dubbed “The Quadbots.” Using Electroimpact’s patented Accurate Robot technology and multi-function end effector (MFEE), each robot can drill, countersink, inspect hole quality, apply sealant, and insert fasteners into the part. The cell consists of 4 identical machines simultaneously working on a single section of the Boeing 787 fuselage, two on the left, and two on the right. These machines employ “collision avoidance” a new feature in their software to help them work more synchronously. The collision avoidance software uses positional feedback from external safety rated encoders mounted to the motors on the robot. From this feedback, safe spaces, in the form of virtual boundaries can be created. Such that a robot will stop and wait if the adjacent robot is in, or going to move into its programmed work envelope.
Technical Paper

777X Control Surface Assembly Using Advanced Robotic Automation

2017-09-19
2017-01-2092
Fabrication and assembly of the majority of control surfaces for Boeing’s 777X airplane is completed at the Boeing Defense, Space and Security (BDS) site in St. Louis, Missouri. The former 777 airplane has been revamped to compete with affordability goals and contentious markets requiring cost-effective production technologies with high maturity and reliability. With tens of thousands of fasteners per shipset, the tasks of drilling, countersinking, hole inspection, and temporary fastener installation are automated. Additionally and wherever possible, blueprint fasteners are automatically installed. Initial production is supported by four (4) Electroimpact robotic systems embedded into a pulse-line production system requiring strategic processing and safeguarding solutions to manage several key layout, build and product flow constraints.
Technical Paper

EMR with High Reliability for Retrofit of E4100 Riveting Gantry Machines

2017-09-19
2017-01-2099
Electroimpact has retrofitted two E4100 riveting gantry machines and two more are in process. These machines use the EMR (Electromagnetic Riveter) riveting process for the installation of slug rivets. We have improved the skin side EMR to provide fast and reliable results: reliability improved by eliminating a weekly shutdown of the machine. In paper 2015-01-2515 we showed the slug rivet injector using a Synchronized Parallel Gripper that provides good results over multiple rivet diameters. This injector is mounted to the skin side EMR so that the rivet injection can be done at any position of the shuttle table. The EMR is a challenging application for the fingers due to shock and vibration. In previous designs, fingers would occasionally be thrown out of the slots. To provide reliable results we redesigned the fingers retainer to capture the finger in a slotted plastic block which slides along the outside diameter of the driver bearing.
Technical Paper

Unique Material Handling and Automated Metrology Systems Provides Backbone of Accurate Final Assembly Line for Business Jet

2016-09-27
2016-01-2104
Figure 1 Global 7000 Business Jet. Photo credit: Robert Backus. The customer’s assembly philosophy demanded a fully integrated flexible pulse line for their Final Assembly Line (FAL) to assemble their new business jets. Major challenges included devising a new material handling system, developing capable positioners and achieving accurate joins while accommodating two different aircraft variants (requiring a “flexible” system). An additional requirement was that the system be easily relocated to allow for future growth and reorganization. Crane based material handling presents certain collision and handover risks, and also present a logistics challenge as cranes can become overworked. Automated guided vehicles can be used to move large parts such as wings, but the resulting sweep path becomes a major operational limitation. The customer did not like the trade-offs for either of these approaches.
Journal Article

Integrated Ball-Screw Based Upset Process for Index Head Rivets Used in Wing Panel Assembly

2015-09-15
2015-01-2491
A new high speed forming process for fatigue rated index head rivets used in wing panel assembly using ball-screw based servo squeeze actuation has been developed. The new process is achieved using a combination of force and position control and is capable of forming to 40,000 lbs at rates of up to 200,000 lbs/second whilst holding the part location to within +/− 10 thousandths of an inch. Multi-axis riveting machines often have positioning axes that are also used for fastener upset. It is often the case that while a CNC is used for positioning control, another secondary controller is used to perform the fastener upset. In the new process, it has been possible to combine the control of the upset process with the machine CNC, thus eliminating any separate controllers. The fastener upset force profile is controlled throughout the forming of the rivet by using a closed loop force control system that has a load cell mounted directly behind the stringer side forming tool.
Technical Paper

Automating AFP Tuning Using a Laser Sensor

2011-10-18
2011-01-2593
Electroimpact Automatic Fiber Placement (AFP) machines lay-up composite parts by accurately placing carbon fiber tow (strips of impregnated carbon fiber) on a mold. In order to achieve high accuracy at high speeds, the processes of feeding and cutting tows must be tuned. Historically, the tuning has been a time-consuming, manual process. This paper will present a methodology to replace manual measurements with an automated laser, improve measurement speed by an order of magnitude, improve accuracy from +/- 0.020\mi (manual) to +/- 0.015\mi (laser), and eliminate human error.
Technical Paper

Next Generation Composite Wing Drilling Machine for Vertical Builds

2011-10-18
2011-01-2613
Growing use of composite materials in aircraft wing construction requires a new generation of drilling machines. Electroimpact developed the LTD machine to address the specific needs posed by large scale composite wing box assembly. The machine maximizes the efficacy of blind access to create a single sided assembly process. Innovative design greatly reduces machine weight and foundation requirements. Optimized processes and automation tools increase the drilling capacity. The mobile machine maximizes plant flexibility by carrying out work on both wing surfaces across multiple assembly jigs. Through thoughtful engineering and thoroughly developed processes the LTD presents a highly capable and cost efficient solution for composite wing box drilling automation.
Journal Article

Vertical Picture-Frame Wing Jig Structure Design with an Eye to Foundation Loading

2011-10-18
2011-01-2693
The foundation of many production aircraft assembly facilities is a more dynamic and unpredictable quantity than we would sometimes care to admit. Any tooling structures constructed on these floors, no matter how thoroughly analyzed or well understood, are at the mercy of settling and shifting concrete, which can cause very lengthy and costly periodic recertification and adjustment procedures. It is with this in mind, then, that we explore the design possibilities for one such structure to be built in Belfast, North Ireland for the assembly of the Shorts C-Series aircraft wings. We evaluate the peak floor pressure, weight, gravity deflection, drilling deflection, and thermal deflection of four promising structures and discover that carefully designed pivot points and tension members can offer significant benefits in some areas.
Journal Article

Technical Improvements to the ASAT2 Boeing 777 Spar Assembly Cell

2011-10-18
2011-01-2707
Electroimpact and Boeing are improving the efficiency and reliability of the Boeing 777 spar assembly process. In 1992, the Boeing 777 spar shop installed Giddings and Lewis spar machines with Electroimpact Inc. EMR(1) (Electromagnetic Riveting) technology. In 2011, Electroimpact Inc. began replacing the original spar machines with next generation assembly machines. The new carriages incorporate a number of technical improvements and advancements over the current system. These technical advancements have facilitated a 50% increase in average cycle rate, as well as improvements to overall process efficiency, reliability and maintainability. Boeing and Electroimpact have focused on several key technology areas as opportunities for significant technical improvements.
Journal Article

Automatic Bolt Feeding on a Multifunction Flextrack

2011-10-18
2011-01-2773
One of the largest advancements in the use of the Flextrack technology is the addition of automated fastener installation on the Multifunction Flextrack made by Electroimpact. The new Flextrack installs SSTF (Single Sided Temporary Fasteners) into the holes it drills without removing clamp-up force from the workpiece. This is the first Flextrack to drill and install fasteners and its functionality goes beyond even these functions. The fasteners, SSTF bolts, are increasingly replacing more cumbersome and manual tools for temporary fastening of aerospace components during assembly. They provide doweling, clamp-up, and feature a compact head to facilitate machine installation. The new Multifunction Flextrack carries the bolts on the machine head as opposed to being fed through a feed tube. A Bolt Cartridge System carries up to 80 bolts onboard the Flextrack and the Cartridges can be quick changed for use with several different diameters.
Journal Article

High-Accuracy Robotic Drilling/Milling of 737 Inboard Flaps

2011-10-18
2011-01-2733
The processes of drilling and milling Boeing 737 inboard flaps at Triumph Aerostructures have been enhanced by an accurate articulated robotic system. Tool point positioning is handled by an off-the-shelf 6-axis KUKA KR360 robot riding on a linear axis. Each of the 7 axes is enhanced with secondary position encoders. A single process head performs all required functions, including one-sided pressure application, touch probing, barcode scanning, drilling/countersinking, measurement of hole diameter and countersink depth, and face milling. The system is controlled by a Siemens 840Dsl CNC which handles all process functions, robot motion, and executes software technologies developed for superior positional accuracy including enhanced kinematics, automated normality correction, and anti-skid correction. The layout of the assembly cell allows the robot to span four fixture zones.
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