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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.
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

Thermal Electric Analysis of Bond Wires Used in Automotive Electronic Modules

2015-04-14
2015-01-0195
Bond wires are used in automotive electronic modules to carry current from external harness to components where flexibility under thermal cyclic loading is very essential between PCB (Printed Circuit Board) and connectors. They are very thin wires (few μm) made up of gold, aluminum or copper and have to undergo mechanical reliability to withstand extreme mechanical and thermal loads during different vehicle operation scenarios. Thermal reliability of bond wire is to make sure that it can withstand prescribed electric current under given boundary conditions without fusing thereby retaining electronic module's functionality. While carrying current, bond wire by virtue of its nature resists electric current flow and generates heat also called as joule heating. Joule heating is proportional to current flow and electrical resistance and if not handled properly can lead to thermal run away conditions.
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.
Journal Article

Discrete Flow Mapping - A Mesh Based Simulation Tool for Mid-to-High Frequency Vibro-Acoustic Excitation of Complex Automotive Structures

2014-06-30
2014-01-2079
Modelling the vibro-acoustic properties of mechanical built-up structures is a challenging task, especially in the mid to high frequency regime, even with the computational resources available today. Standard modelling tools for complex vehicle parts include finite and boundary element methods (FEM and BEM), as well as Multi-Body Simulations (MBS). These methods are, however, robust only in the low frequency regime. In particular, FEM is not scalable to higher frequencies due to the prohibitive increase in model size. We have recently developed a new method called Discrete Flow Mapping (DFM), which extends existing high frequency methods, such as Statistical Energy Analysis or the so-called Dynamical Energy Analysis (DEA), to work on meshed structures. It provides for the first time detailed spatial information about the vibrational energy of a whole built-up structure of arbitrary complexity in this frequency range.
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

Emerging Technologies for Use in Aerospace Bonded Assemblies

2013-09-17
2013-01-2134
Several new technologies are now emerging to improve adhesive supply and formulation along with surface treatments that have the potential to offer significant improvements to both surface energy and cleanliness [3]. Additionally, the miniaturisation of laboratory techniques into portable equipment offers potential for online surface energy and chemical analysis measurement for use as quality control measures in a production environment. An overview of newly available technology is given here with several devices studied in further detail. Technologies assessed further in this paper are; portable surface contact angle measurement, ambient pressure plasma cleaning, portable FTIR measurement and adhesive mixing equipment. A number of potential applications are outlined for each device based on the operational technique. The practical aspects of implementation and the perceived technology readiness levels for operation, implementation and results are also given.
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.
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

Diesel Injector Deposits - An Issue That Has Evolved with Engine Technology

2011-08-30
2011-01-1923
Diesel engines have traditionally been favoured in heavy-duty applications for their fuel economy, robustness, reliability and relative lack of fuel sensitivity. Recently it has seen a growth in its popularity in light duty applications due particularly to its fuel efficiency. However, as the engine technology and particularly the fuel injection equipment has evolved to meet ever stricter emissions legislation the engines have become more sensitive to deposit formation resulting from changes in fuel quality. This paper reviews bouts of concern over diesel fuel injector deposits, possible causes for the phenomenon and test methods designed to screen fuels to eliminate problems.
Journal Article

A Novel Technique for Investigating the Nature and Origins of Deposits Formed in High Pressure Fuel Injection Equipment

2009-11-02
2009-01-2637
Recent developments in diesel fuel injection equipment coupled with moves to using ULSD and biodiesel blends has seen an increase in the number of reports, from both engine manufacturers and fleet operators, regarding fuel system deposit issues. Preliminary work performed to characterise these deposits showed them to be complicated mixtures, predominantly carbon like but also containing other possible carbon precursor materials. This paper describes the application of the combination of hydropyrolysis, gas chromatography and mass spectrometry to the analysis of these deposits. It also discusses the insights that such analysis can bring to the constitution and origin of these deposits.
Technical Paper

Application of Lean Manufacturing to React to Fast Market Growth

2008-10-07
2008-36-0399
Brazilian automotive market has been growing faster than ever. In order to react properly to market increasing demand in terms of volume and diversity, production systems have to be carefully designed. Traditional manufacturing tends to react to demand increase by outsourcing or investing in new equipments or facilities. Lean thinking suggests that by reducing waste along the value stream it is possible to increase flexibility and freed resources to reduce the investment level required to cope customer’s needs. This paper presents two cases of a system redesign based on the lean manufacturing principles to support the demand.
Technical Paper

Using the Six Sigma Methodology for Process Variation Reduction

2007-11-28
2007-01-2872
This paper is about the use of the Six Sigma Methodology, to solve variation problems in the manufacture area, at one of the Delphi Automotive Systems unit that manufacturer electrical harness. The DMAIC framework was followed, the improvements were done, eliminating the rots causes, and the use of Six Sigma methodology, was showed very efficient in solve problems. The methodology power, is in using a structured frame work, the DMAIC (Define-Measure-Analyze-Improve-Control), completing by quality quality tools (Pareto Chart, Five Why's, Cause and Effect Diagram) and statistical analyses, for example: variance analyses, hypotheses tests and Design of Experiments.
Technical Paper

Predictions for Nucleate Boiling - Results From a Thermal Bench Marking Exercise Under Low Flow Conditions

2002-03-04
2002-01-1028
Two predictive methods have been applied to an IC engine cooling gallery simulator to provide benchmarking heat transfer information. The object of this work was to assess the suitability and accuracy of these methods for application to future on-engine heat transfer studies. Such studies are aimed at developing predictive tools to aid in the design of precision cooling systems. The modelling techniques of Rohsenow and Chen have been used, modified and validated. Compared against experimental data, the sub-cooled form of the Chen model has been found to be most representative for the cooling gallery simulator designed specifically to meet the requirements of this work.
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