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Technical Paper

Low Cost Reconfigurable Jig Tooling and In-Process Metrology for High Accuracy Prototype Rotorcraft Wing Assembly

2019-09-16
2019-01-1877
Reconfigurable tooling frames consisting of steel box sections and bolted friction clamps offer an opportunity to replace traditional expensive welded steel tooling. This well publicized reconfigurable reusable jig tooling has been investigated for use in the assembly of a prototype compound helicopter wing. Due to the aircraft configuration, the wing design is pinned at both ends and therefore requires a higher degree of end to end accuracy, over the 4m length, than conventional wings. During the investigation some fundamental issues are approached, including: Potential cost savings and variables which effect the business case. Achievable Jig accuracy. Potential sources of instability that may affect accuracy over time. Repeatability of measurements with various features and methods. Typical jig stability over 24hrs including effects of small temperature fluctuations. Deflections that occur due to loading.
Technical Paper

Advanced Assembly Solutions for the Airbus RACER Joined-Wing Configuration

2019-09-16
2019-01-1884
The Rapid And Cost Effective Rotorcraft (RACER) is being developed by Airbus Helicopters (AH) to demonstrate a new Vertical Take-Off and Landing configuration to fill the mobility gap between conventional helicopters and aeroplanes. RACER is a compound rotorcraft featuring wings and multiple rotors. The wing arrangement suggested by AH is defined as a staggered bi-plane joined configuration with an upper and a lower straight wing, either side of the fuselage, connected at their outboard extent to form a triangular structure. The ASTRAL consortium, consisting of the University of Nottingham and GE Aviation Systems, are responsible for the design, manufacture, assembly and testing of the wings. Producing an optimised strategy to assemble a joined-wing configuration for a passenger carrying rotorcraft is challenging and novel. The objective of this work concerns all aspects of assembling the joined-wing structure.
Technical Paper

Variation Aware Assembly Systems for Aircraft Wings

2016-09-27
2016-01-2106
Aircraft manufacturers desire to increase production to keep up with anticipated demand. To achieve this, the aerospace industry requires a significant increase in the manufacturing and assembly performance to reach required output levels. This work therefore introduces the Variation Aware Assembly (VAA) concept and identifies its suitability for implementation into aircraft wing assembly processes. The VAA system concept focuses on achieving assemblies towards the nominal dimensions, as opposed to traditional tooling methods that aim to achieve assemblies anywhere within the tolerance band. It enables control of the variation found in Key Characteristics (KC) that will allow for an increase in the assembly quality and product performance. The concept consists of utilizing metrology data from sources both before and during the assembly process, to precisely position parts using motion controllers.
Technical Paper

The Role of New Automotive Engineering Masters Programme in the Industry in China

2016-04-05
2016-01-0171
China is the world’s largest automotive producer and has the world’s biggest automobile market. However, in the past decades, the development of China’s automotive industry has depended primarily on the foreign direct investment; domestic automakers have struggled in the lower ranks of car producers. In recent years, China’s automotive industry, supported by government policies, has been improving their Research and Development (R&D) capacity, to compete with their international peers. Against this background, China’s automotive industry requires a large number of R&D professionals who have not only a higher degree but also the applied and practical knowledge and skills of research. For the purpose of meeting the industry’s needs, a new Professional Automotive Engineering Masters Programme was launched in 2009, which aims to deliver the Masters to be the R&D professionals in the future.
Technical Paper

Development of Electrical-Electronic Controls for a Gasoline Direct Injection Compression Ignition Engine

2016-04-05
2016-01-0614
Delphi is developing a new combustion technology called Gasoline Direct-injection Compression Ignition (GDCI), which has shown promise for substantially improving fuel economy. This new technology is able to reuse some of the controls common to traditional spark ignition (SI) engines; however, it also requires several new sensors and actuators, some of which are not common to traditional SI engines. Since this is new technology development, the required hardware set has continued to evolve over the course of the project. In order to support this development work, a highly capable and flexible electronic control system is necessary. Integrating all of the necessary functions into a single controller, or two, would require significant up-front controller hardware development, and would limit the adaptability of the electronic controls to the evolving requirements for GDCI.
Journal Article

Reconfigurable Assembly System Design Methodology: A Wing Assembly Case Study

2015-09-15
2015-01-2594
Current assembly systems that deal with large, complex structures present a number of challenges with regard to improving operational performance. Specifically, aerospace assembly systems comprise a vast array of interrelated elements interacting in a myriad of ways, resulting in a deeply complex process that requires a multi-disciplined team of engineers. The current approach to ramp-up production rate involves building additional main assembly fixtures which require large investment and lead times up to 24 months. Within Airbus Operations Ltd there is a requirement to improve the capacity and flexibility of assembly systems, thereby reducing non-recurring costs and time-to-market. Recent trends to improve manufacturing agility advocate Reconfigurable Assembly Systems (RAS) as a viable solution. Yet, adding reconfigurability to assembly systems further increases both the operational and design complexity.
Technical Paper

Towards Self-Adaptive Fixturing Systems for Aircraft Wing Assembly

2015-09-15
2015-01-2493
The aim of this work was to develop a new assembly process in conjunction with an adaptive fixturing system to improve the assembly process capability of specific aircraft wing assembly processes. The inherently complex aerospace industry requires a step change in its capability to achieve the production ramp up required to meet the global demand. This paper evaluates the capability of adaptive fixtures to identify their suitability for implementation into aircraft wing manufacturing and assembly. To understand the potential benefits of these fixtures, an examination of the current academic practices and an evaluation of the existing industrial solutions is highlighted. The proposed adaptive assembly process was developed to account for the manufacturing induced dimensional variation that causes significant issues in aircraft wing assembly. To test the effectiveness of the adaptive assembly process, an aircraft wing assembly operation was replicated on a demonstrator test rig.
Technical Paper

Cavity Fill Balancing Technique for Rubber Injection Molding

2015-04-14
2015-01-0715
Balancing the fill sequence of multiple cavities in a rubber injection mold is desirable for efficient cure rates, optimized cure times, and consistent quality of all molded parts. The reality is that most rubber injection molds do not provide a consistent uniform balanced fill sequence for all the cavities in the mold - even if the runner and cavity layout is geometrically balanced. A new runner design technique, named “The Vanturi Effect”, is disclosed to help address the inherent deficiencies of traditional runner and cavity layouts in order to achieve a more balanced fill sequence. Comparative analysis of molded runner samples reveals a significant and positive improvement in runner and cavity fill balancing when the Vanturi Effect is integrated into the runner design.
Technical Paper

More Leaders and Fewer Initiatives: Key Ideas for the Future of Engineering

2015-04-14
2015-01-0411
Panel Discussions held at the SAE World Congress in both 2013 and 2014 observed that a shortage of good quality engineering talent formed a chronic and major challenge. (“Good quality” refers to applicants that would be shortlisted for interview.) While doubts have been expressed in some quarters, the shortage is confirmed by automotive sector employers and the Panel's view was that it was symptomatic of a range of issues, all of which have some bearing on the future of the profession. Initiatives to improve recruitment and retention have had varying degrees of success. Efforts need to be intensified in primary schools where negative perceptions develop and deepen. Schemes like AWIM that operate on a large scale and are designed to supplement school curricula should operate at an international level. Universities represent the entry point into the engineering profession and their role in the recruitment process as well as education and training is crucial.
Journal Article

Spectroscopic Studies of Internal Injector Deposits (IDID) Resulting from the Use of Non-Commercial Low Molecular Weight Polyisobutylenesuccinimide (PIBSI)

2014-10-13
2014-01-2720
Since 2009, there has been a rise in deposits of various types found in diesel fuel injection systems. They have been identified in the filter, the injector tip and recently inside the injector. The latter internal diesel injector deposits (IDIDs) have been the subject of a number of recent publications, and are the subject of investigations by CRC (Central Research Council Diesel Performance Group-Deposit Panel Bench/ Rig Investigation sub panel) in the US and CEN (Committee European de Normalisation TC19/WG24 Injector Deposit Task Force) and CEC (Coordinating European Council TDFG-110 engine test) in Europe. In the literature one of the internal injector deposit types, amide lacquers, has been associated with a poorly characterised noncommercial low molecular weight polyisobutylene succinimide detergent which also lacked provenance.
Journal Article

Axiomatic Design of a Reconfigurable Assembly System for Primary Wing Structures

2014-09-16
2014-01-2249
Aerospace assembly systems comprise a vast array of interrelated elements interacting in a myriad of ways. Consequently, aerospace assembly system design is a deeply complex process that requires a multi-disciplined team of engineers. Recent trends to improve manufacturing agility suggest reconfigurability as a solution to the increasing demand for improved flexibility, time-to-market and overall reduction in non-recurring costs. Yet, adding reconfigurability to assembly systems further increases operational complexity and design complexity. Despite the increase in complexity for reconfigurable assembly, few formal methodologies or frameworks exist specifically to support the design of Reconfigurable Assembly Systems (RAS). This paper presents a novel reconfigurable assembly system design framework (RASDF) that can be applied to wing structure assembly as well as many other RAS design problems.
Journal Article

Implementing Determinate Assembly for the Leading Edge Sub-Assembly of Aircraft Wing Manufacture

2014-09-16
2014-01-2252
The replacement for the current single-aisle aircraft will need to be manufactured at a rate significantly higher that of current production. One way that production rate can be increased is by reducing the processing time for assembly operations. This paper presents research that was applied to the build philosophy of the leading edge of a laminar flow European wing demonstrator. The paper describes the implementation of determinate assembly for the rib to bracket assembly interface. By optimising the diametric and the positional tolerances of the holes on the two bracket types and ribs, determinate assembly was successfully implemented. The bracket to rib interface is now secured with no tooling or post processes other than inserting and tightening the fastener. This will reduce the tooling costs and eliminates the need for local drilling, de-burring and re-assembly of the bracket to rib interface, reducing the cycle time of the operation.
Technical Paper

Review of Reconfigurable Assembly Systems Technologies for Cost Effective Wing Structure Assembly

2013-09-17
2013-01-2336
Airbus commercial wings are assembled manually in dedicated steel structures. The lead time to design, manufacture and commission these fixtures is often in excess of 24 months. Due to the nature of these fixtures, manufacturing is slow in responding to changes in demand. There is underused capacity in some areas and insufficient ramp-up speed where increased production rate is needed. Reconfigurable Manufacturing Systems and Reconfigurable Assembly Systems (RAS) provide an approach to system design that provides appropriate capacity when needed. The aim of the paper is to review RAS technologies that are suitable for cost-effective wing structure assembly and what knowledge gaps exist for a RAS to be achieved. The paper examines successful cases of RAS and reviews relevant system design approaches. Cost savings are acknowledged and tabularised where demonstrated in research. The research gaps to realising a RAS for wing assembly are identified and different approaches are considered.
Journal Article

Improvement of Planning and Tracking of Technology Maturity Development with Focus on Manufacturing Requirements

2013-09-17
2013-01-2261
This paper details the development of a user-friendly computerised tool created to evaluate the Manufacturing Readiness Levels (MRL) of an emerging technology. The main benefits achieved are to manage technology development planning and tracking, make visually clear and standardised analysis, and improve team communication. The new approach is applied to the Technology Readiness Levels (TRL), currently used by Airbus Research & Technology (R&T) UK. The main focus is on the improvement of the analysis criteria. The first phase of the study was to interpret the manufacturing criteria used by Airbus at TRL 4, including a brief benchmarking review of similar practices in industry and other Airbus' project management tools. All information gathered contributed to the creation of a complete set of criteria.
Technical Paper

Paradox of Miniaturization Trend Versus Hybrid Electrical Vehicle Requirements

2012-10-02
2012-36-0262
In recent years, a number of key influences are contributing to accelerate technological innovation in the automotive industrial sector. Concerns about renewable energy resource, fossil-fuels crises and higher gasoline prices, global warming awareness and environmental impacts, scarcity of minerals/metals and electronics demands rising are some of the major challenges for vehicle automakers and their suppliers. The interest in alternative fuel vehicles, especially hybrid-electrical vehicles (HEV) or renewable energy power concepts for road vehicles has become intensified and represents a significant area of research and development in order to meet nowadays global demands. However because of Hybrid Vehicles unique Power Supply System the electrical/electronic architecture (E/E) is sophisticated, requesting more robust sealing and a particular wiring harness components, such as connector, terminals and cables.
Journal Article

Flexible Tooling for Wing Box Rib Clamping and Drilling

2011-10-18
2011-01-2639
Currently the wing box rib assembly process requires the manual location and temporary fixing of components within product specific jig or fixtures for drilling. After drilling and reaming, parts are separated, cleaned, deburred prior to adding sealant, reclaiming and final bolting, but this may significantly increase cost, manufacturing lead-time, reduces flexibility and cannot usually be economically modified for use on other aircraft types. Due to potential increase in demand for the next generation single isle aircraft, existing tooling solutions have to be improved and new technologies have to be developed. This paper describes the development and testing of flexible tooling to provide clamping and support for drilling wing box ribs to mating rib posts within a restricted environment. Results are presented along with a discussion of the problems that may be encountered during clamping trials.
Technical Paper

Fixturing and Tooling for Wing Assembly with Reconfigurable Datum System Pickup

2011-10-18
2011-01-2556
The aerospace manufacturing sector is continuously seeking automation due to increased demand for the next generation single-isle aircraft. In order to reduce weight and fuel consumption aircraft manufacturers have increasingly started to use more composites as part of the structure. The manufacture and assembly of composites poses different constraints and challenges compared to the more traditional aircraft build consisting of metal components. In order to overcome these problems and to achieve the desired production rate existing manufacturing technologies have to be improved. New technologies and build concepts have to be developed in order to achieve the rate and ramp up of production and cost saving. This paper investigates how to achieve the rib hole key characteristic (KC) in a composite wing box assembly process. When the rib hole KC is out of tolerances, possibly, the KC can be achieved by imposing it by means of adjustable tooling and fixturing elements.
Technical Paper

Development of an Analytical Tool for Multilayer Stack Assemblies

2011-10-06
2011-28-0083
The development of an analytical model for multilayer stack subjected to temperature change is demonstrated here. Thin continuous layers of materials bonded together deform as a plate due to their differing coefficients of thermal expansion upon subjecting the bonded materials to the change in temperature. Applications of such structures can be found in the electronics industry (the study of warpage issues in printed circuit boards) or in the aerospace industry as (the study of laminated thin sheets used as skin structures for load bearing members such as wings and fuselage). In automotive electronics, critical high-power packages (IGBT, Power FETs) include several layers of widely differing materials (aluminum, solder, copper, ceramics) subjected to wide temperature cyclic ranges. Modeling of such structures by using three-dimensional finite element methods is usually time consuming and may not exactly predict the inter-laminar strains.
Technical Paper

Natural and Environmentally Responsive Building Envelopes

2007-07-09
2007-01-3056
In a context of global warming and our needs to reduce CO2 emissions, building envelopes will play an important role. A new imperative has been put forth to architects and engineers to develop innovative materials, components and systems, in order to make building envelopes adaptive and responsive to variable and extreme climate conditions. Envelopes serve multiple functions, from shielding the interior environment to collecting, storing and generating energy. Perhaps a more recent concern of terrestrial habitats is permeability and leakages within the building envelope. Such air tight and concealed envelopes with zero particle exchange are a necessity and already exist in regard to space capsules and habitats. This paper attempts to acknowledge existing and visionary envelope concepts and their functioning in conjunction with maintaining a favourable interior environment. It introduces several criteria and requirements of advanced façades along with interior pressurization control.
Technical Paper

Maximum Electrical Energy Availability With Reasonable Components

2000-11-01
2000-01-C071
The electric power required in automotive systems is quickly reaching a level that significantly impacts costs and fuel consumption. This drives the need to reconsider an electric energy management function. Fast evolving factors such as increasing power usage, and stricter engine management and reliability requirements necessitate a global vehicle approach to energy management. Innovations such as new powernet concepts (42 volt or dual voltage systems), new component technologies (high-performance energy storage, high efficiency and controllable generators), and global electronic and software architecture concepts will enable this new energy management concept. This paper describes key issues to maximize energy availability with reasonable components.
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