An Investigation into the Use of Small, Flexible, Machine Tools to Support the Lean Manufacturing Environment
Drilling fastener holes in large assemblies is traditionally accomplished through the use of large machine tools in order to obtain the accuracies required for the assembled part. Given recent advances of machine design and machine controller compensation, the accuracy of the motion platform can be corrected if the machine is repeatable. This coupled with the use of a vision system or touch probe to compensate for assembly variations, permit the use of smaller, more portable drilling systems. These smaller, more portable machine tools allow for lean manufacturing techniques to be incorporated into build processes, utilize less floor space, and in many cases are less costly than larger, permanent machine tools. This paper examines the feasibility of utilizing a small 5-axis, portable, drilling system for drilling the side panel skins on the F/A-18 E/F forward fuselage.