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Technical Paper

C919 Trailing Edge Assembly Interchangeable Tooling

2019-09-16
2019-01-1880
Traditional Trailing Edge (TE) assembly that utilise fixtures for accurate positioning of aircraft (a/c) parts do not allow for removal of specific tooling from the fixtures to travel with the TE, post assembly. Instead, the tooling that positions all the primary a/c assembly datums generally utilise precision pins of various sizes that index and clamp the a/c ribs. Often it is difficult to remove the pins post assembly before the spar can be taken out of the fixture. Use of hammers is common place to hit pins out of holes which is less than ideal considering the a/c parts can be fragile and the tooling is precision set. Also, the Main Assembly Fixture (MAJ) that will receive the TE will inevitably need to relocate some if not all the primary a/c ribs and therefore will most likely be subject to some amount of persuasion.
Technical Paper

Flexible All Electric Riveter

2019-03-19
2019-01-1333
A new style of all electric riveting machine has been developed with saddle hoppers that does not require a track between the hoppers and the fingers. This enables feeding square rivets without difficulty. The upper ram has a bent knee which allows the rivet fingers to be brought up to the hopper and rotated 30 degrees rather than the rivet sliding down a track, which minimizes jamming that occurs with some fasteners in the track, and increases reliability. A mixture of fasteners can be loaded side by side in the hoppers, increasing flexibility. The rivet feeding is accomplished by bringing the rivet fingers to the hopper. The machine uses a power drawbar to change out different rivet fingers. A small industrial robot is incorporated into the machine to complete different sized coupons and also complete small assemblies. In larger machines larger robots or CNC positioners can be used to scale up the use of the machine.
Journal Article

Collaborative Robotic Fastening Using Stereo Machine Vision

2019-03-19
2019-01-1374
With typically over 2.3 million parts, attached with over 3 million fasteners, it may be surprising to learn that approximately two out of every three fasteners on a twin aisle aircraft are fastened by hand. In addition the fasteners are often installed in locations designed for strength and not necessarily ergonomics. These facts lead to vast opportunities to automate this tedious and repetitive task. The solution outlined in this paper utilizes the latest machine vision and robotics techniques to solve these unique challenges. Stereo machine vision techniques find the fastener on the interior of an aerospace structure and calculate the 6DOF (Degrees of Freedom) location in less than 500ms. Once the fastener is located, sealed, and inspected for bead width and gaps, a nut or collar is then installed. Force feedback capabilities of a collaborative robot are used to prevent part damage and ensure the nut or collar are properly located on the fastener.
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.
Journal Article

System for Recirculation of Mobile Tooling

2015-09-15
2015-01-2494
Aircraft assembly systems which require tooling or machinery to pulse or move between multiple positions within a factory can be positioned with high repeatability without high performance foundations or sweeping out large areas of floorspace. An example shows a system of large left and right-hand frames which are positioned at 3 sequential manufacturing steps and then recirculated to the start of production via a central return aisle. The frames are 41 ton actual weight and are 72′ long, similar to a rail car. The system achieves rectangular motion for the recirculation path. The supporting and moving system incorporates low-cost rail in a floor with minimal preparation and simple to use controls. The system is also easily reconfigured if the manufacturing system needs to be altered to meet rate or flow requirements.
Journal Article

Panel Assembly Line (PAL) for High Production Rates

2015-09-15
2015-01-2492
Developing the most advanced wing panel assembly line for very high production rates required an innovative and integrated solution, relying on the latest technologies in the industry. Looking back at over five decades of commercial aircraft assembly, a clear and singular vision of a fully integrated solution was defined for the new panel production line. The execution was to be focused on co-developing the automation, tooling, material handling and facilities while limiting the number of parties involved. Using the latest technologies in all these areas also required a development plan, which included pre-qualification at all stages of the system development. Planning this large scale project included goals not only for the final solution but for the development and implementation stages as well. The results: Design/build philosophy reduced project time and the number of teams involved. This allowed for easier communication and extended development time well into the project.
Technical Paper

Robotic Drilling and Countersinking on Highly Curved Surfaces

2015-09-15
2015-01-2517
Electroimpact has developed a novel method for accurately drilling and countersinking holes on highly convex parts using an articulated arm robotic drilling system. Highly curved parts, such as the leading edge of an aircraft wing, present numerous challenges when attempting to drill normal to the part surface and produce tight tolerance countersinks. Electroipmact's Accurate Robot technology allows extremely accurate positioning of the tool point and the spindle vector orientation. However, due to the high local curvature of the part, even a small positional deviation of the tool point can result in a significantly different normal vector than expected from an NC program. An off-normal hole will result in an out of tolerance countersink and a non-flush fastener.
Technical Paper

Fully Automated Robotic Tool Change

2015-09-15
2015-01-2508
An improved aircraft assembly line incorporates fully automated robotic tool change. Ten machine tools, each with two onboard 6-axis robots, drill and fasten airplane structural components. The robots change 100% of the process tooling (drill bits, bolt anvils, hole probes, and nosepieces) to allow seamless transition across the entire range of hole and fastener sizes (3/16″-7/16″). To support required rate, total tool change time (including automatic calibration) is less than 80 seconds. This paper describes the robots and their end effector hardware, reliability testing, and simulations for both mechanical clearance and cycle time estimation.
Journal Article

Laser Profilometry For Non-Contact Automated Countersink Diameter Measurement

2014-09-16
2014-01-2255
Automated countersink measurement methods which require contact with the workpiece are susceptible to a loss of accuracy due to cutting debris and lube build-up. This paper demonstrates a non-contact method for countersink diameter measurement on CFRP which eliminates the need for periodic cleaning. Holes are scanned in process using a laser profilometer. Coordinates for points along the countersink edge are processed with a unique filtering algorithm providing a highly repeatable estimate for major and minor diameter.
Journal Article

Rivet and Bolt Injector with Bomb Bay Ejection Doors

2013-09-17
2013-01-2151
Electroimpact's newest riveting machine features a track-style injector with Bomb Bay Ejection Doors. The Bomb Bay Ejection Doors are a robust way to eject fasteners from track style injector. Track style injectors are commonly used by Electroimpact and others in the industry. Using the Bomb Bay Doors for fastener ejection consists of opening the tracks allowing very solid clearing of an injector when ejecting a fastener translating to a more reliable fastener delivery system. Examples of when fastener ejection is needed are when a fastener is sent backwards, when there are two in the tube, or when a machine operator stops or resets the machine during a fastening cycle. This method allows fasteners to be cleared in nearly every situation when ejecting a fastener is required. Additional feature of Electroimpact's new injection system is integrated anvil tool change.
Journal Article

Increasing Machine Accuracy by Spatially Compensating Large Scale Machines for Use in Constructing Aerospace Structures

2013-09-17
2013-01-2298
Starting in 2003 Electroimpact began development on a comprehensive kinematic and compensation software package for machines with large envelopes. The software was first implemented on Electroimpact's Automatic Fiber Placement (AFP) equipment. Implementation became almost universal by 2005. By systematically collecting tracker measurements at various machine poses and then using this software to optimize the kinematic parameters of the machine, we are able to reliably achieve machine positional accuracy of approximately 2x the uncertainty of the measurements themselves. The goal of this paper is to document some of the features of this system and show the results of compensation in the hope that this method of machine compensation or similar versions will become mainstream.
Technical Paper

Frame-Clip Riveting End Effector

2013-09-17
2013-01-2079
A frame-clip riveting end effector has been developed for installing 3.97mm (5/32) and 4.6mm (3/16) universal head aluminum rivets. The end effector can be mounted on the end of a robot arm. The end effector provides 35.6 kNt (8000 lbs) of rivet upset. Rivets can be installed fifteen millimeters from the IML. The clearance allowed to rivet centerline is 150 millimeters. The riveting process features a unique style of rivet fingers for the universal head rivet. These fingers allow the rivet to be brought in with the ram. This differentiates from some styles of frame-clip end effectors in which the rivet is blown into the hole. The paper shows the technical components of the end effector in sequence: the pneumatic clamp, rivet insert and upset. The end effector will be used for riveting shear ties to frames on the IML of fuselage panels.
Technical Paper

Integrated Hole and Countersink Inspection of Aircraft Components

2013-09-17
2013-01-2147
Precision hole inspection is often required for automated aircraft assembly. Direct contact measurement has been proven reliable and accurate for over 20 years in production applications. At the core of the hole measurement process tool are high precision optical encoders for measurement of diameter and countersink depth. Mechanical contact within the hole is via standard 2-point split ball tips, and diametric data is collected rapidly and continuously enabling the system to profile the inner surface at 0 and 90 degrees. Hole profile, countersink depth, and grip length data are collected in 6 seconds. Parallel to the active process, auto-calibration is performed to minimize environmental factors such as thermal expansion. Tip assemblies are selected and changed automatically. Optional features include concave countersink and panel position measurement.
Technical Paper

Offset Anvil for HH500

2012-09-10
2012-01-1871
The handheld (HH) electromagnetic riveter (EMR) has proven to be an effective means of installing up to 7/16\mi diameter rivets in aircraft components. These devices are currently installing rivets on Boeing and Airbus planes all over the world. They are also very popular in China and Japan. However, there have always been difficulties with stringer access. A new version of lightweight driver with interchangeable offset tooling was created to alleviate this problem. In addition, a disposable plastic wedge has been incorporated at the base of the offset ram to prevent stringer damage during the recoil.
Technical Paper

Electromagnetic Bolt Inserter

2012-09-10
2012-01-1880
The Electromagnetic Bolt Inserter (EMB) is a new tool that combines functions that on previous machines were performed by two tools, a bolt inserter followed by an EMR. By combining the operations of two tools in one the processing time for the wing spar is reduced. The tool incorporates quality checks for bolt length, stake height and bolt insert height.
Journal Article

Unique Non-Orthogonal TCP Intersecting AFP Axes Design

2012-09-10
2012-01-1862
Automated Fiber Placement (AFP) machines typically consist of 3 linear and 3 rotary axes of motion in order to manufacture complex shapes. These axes are generally orthogonal and semi-coupled. In these designs, a linear axis move will not affect the rotary axes orientation whereas a rotary axis move will affect the Tool Center Point (TCP) location with respect to the linear axes position. The wide range of motion required to maintain the compaction-axis normality needed for carbon fiber layup tends to prevent all of the rotational axes from passing through the TCP. The location and arrangement of these rotational axes has a great effect on the AFP machine performance and controllability during high speed layup. This paper presents a unique kinematic AFP axes design consisting of replacing the 3 orthogonal rotary axes with 3 tool-center-point-intersecting coupled-axes which decouple the linear axes from the rotary axes.
Journal Article

Automated Metrology Solution to Reduce Downtime and De-Skill Tooling Recertification

2012-09-10
2012-01-1869
Wing and fuselage aircraft structures require large precise tools for assembly. These large jigs require periodic re-certification to validate jig accuracy, yet metrology tasks involved may take the tool out of service for a week or more and typically require highly specialized personnel. Increasing the time between re-certifications adds the risk of making out-of-tolerance assemblies. How can we reduce jig re-certification down time without increasing the risk of using out-of-tolerance tooling? An alternative, successfully tested in a prototype tool, is to bring automated metrology tools to bear. Specifically, laser tracker measurements can be automated through a combination of off-the-shelf & custom software, careful line-of-sight planning, and permanent embedded targets. Retro-reflectors are placed at critical points throughout the jig. Inaccessible (out of reach) tool areas are addressed through the use of low cost, permanent, shielded repeatability targets.
Journal Article

Synthesizing Metrology Technologies to Reduce Engineering Time for Large CNC Machine Compensation

2011-10-18
2011-01-2780
Very large multi-axis CNC machines offer a special challenge for efficient and accurate machine compensation. Aerospace applications demand tight tolerances, but conventional compensation methods become expensive for large machines. Volumetric compensation offers an approach for reducing costs and improving accuracies. A unique control architecture enabled by volumetric compensation enables the use of a single part program by multiple machines. Combining multiple technologies (a proprietary volumetric compensation solver program, Spatial Analyzer, API's Active Target, a laser tracker and bespoke CNC-Tracker communication software for measurement triggering) significantly reduces machine compensation time. Available analysis tools also enable the engineer to evaluate measurement uncertainties and determine the best locations for additional stations as well as quantify the accuracy benefits such stations would offer.
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.
Technical Paper

Automatic Feeding of Temporary Fasteners in Confined Spaces

2010-09-28
2010-01-1879
Single Sided Slave Fasteners (SSSF) or Single Sided Temporary Fasteners (SSTF) are increasingly replacing more cumbersome and manual tools for temporary doweling and clamping of aerospace components during assembly. Their ability to clamp provide doweling and clamping reduce the amount of tooling required. Due to their low profile and blind (one-sided) capability, the key benefit of this new technology is the ability to install these fasteners with automated machines. Electroimpact has developed machines to feed primarily SSTF bolts made application-specific by Centrix LLC [ 1 ]. The application discussed in this paper presented problems of confined spaces where a variety of fasteners were required to be fed automatically. To address this, Electroimpact developed new Bolt Injector and Bolt Inserter technology to feed multiple diameters of SSTF bolts in a very small package. Application-specific SSTF were designed such that multiple diameters could be fed through one feed tube.
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