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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

Morphological Characterization of Gasoline Soot-in-Oil: Development of Semi-Automated 2D-TEM and Comparison with Novel High-Throughput 3D-TEM

2019-09-09
2019-24-0042
Characterization of soot nanoparticle morphology can be used to develop understanding of nanoparticle interaction with engine lubricant oil and its additives. It can be used to help direct modelling of soot-induced thickening, and in a more general sense for combatting reductions in engine efficiency that occur with soot-laden oils. Traditional 2D transmission electron microscopy (TEM) characterization possesses several important shortcomings related to accuracy that have prompted development of an alternative 3D characterization technique utilizing electron tomography, known as 3D-TEM. This work details progress made towards facilitating semi-automated image acquisition and processing for location of structures of interest on the TEM grid. Samples were taken from a four cylinder 1.4 L gasoline turbocharged direct injection (GTDI) engine operated in typically extra-urban driving conditions for 20,284 km, with automatic cylinder deactivation enabled.
Technical Paper

Soot in the Lubricating Oil: An Overlooked Concern for the Gasoline Direct Injection Engine?

2019-04-02
2019-01-0301
Formation of soot is a known phenomenon for diesel engines, however, only recently emerged for gasoline engines with the introduction of direct injection systems. Soot-in-oil samples from a three-cylinder turbocharged gasoline direct injection (GDI) engine have been analysed. The samples were collected from the oil sump after periods of use in predominantly urban driving conditions with start-stop mode activated. Thermogravimetric analysis (TGA) was performed to measure the soot content in the drained oils. Soot deposition rates were similar to previously reported rates for diesel engines, i.e. 1 wt% per 15,000 km, thus indicating a similar importance. Morphology was assessed by transmission electron microscopy (TEM). Images showed fractal agglomerates comprising multiple primary particles with characteristic core-shell nanostructure. Furthermore, large amorphous structures were observed. Primary particle sizes ranged from 12 to 55 nm, with a mean diameter of 30 nm and mode at 31 nm.
Technical Paper

Demonstration of Transformable Manufacturing Systems through the Evolvable Assembly Systems Project

2019-03-19
2019-01-1363
Evolvable Assembly Systems is a five year UK research council funded project into flexible and reconfigurable manufacturing systems. The principal goal of the research programme has been to define and validate the vision and support architecture, theoretical models, methods and algorithms for Evolvable Assembly Systems as a new platform for open, adaptable, context-aware and cost effective production. The project is now coming to a close; the concepts developed during the project have been implemented on a variety of demonstrators across a number of manufacturing domains including automotive and aerospace assembly. This paper will show the progression of demonstrators and applications as they increase in complexity, specifically focussing on the Future Automated Aerospace Assembly Phase 1 technology demonstrator (FA3D).
Journal Article

The Effects of Cylinder Deactivation on the Thermal Behaviour and Performance of a Three Cylinder Spark Ignition Engine

2016-10-17
2016-01-2160
A physics based, lumped thermal capacity model of a 1litre, 3 cylinder, turbocharged, directly injected spark ignition engine has been developed to investigate the effects of cylinder deactivation on the thermal behaviour and fuel economy of small capacity, 3 cylinder engines. When one is deactivated, the output of the two firing cylinders is increased by 50%. The largest temperature differences resulting from this are between exhaust ports and between the upper parts of liners of the deactivated cylinder and the adjacent firing cylinder. These differences increase with load. The deactivated cylinder liner cools to near-coolant temperature. Temperatures in the lower engine structure show little response to deactivation. Temperature response times following deactivation or reactivation events are similar. Motoring work for the deactivated cylinder is a minor loss; the net benefit of deactivation diminishes with increasing load.
Technical Paper

Design of a Reconfigurable Assembly Cell for Multiple Aerostructures

2016-09-27
2016-01-2105
This paper presents novel development of a reconfigurable assembly cell which assembles multiple aerostructure products. Most aerostructure assembly systems are designed to produce one variant only. For multiple variants, each assembly typically has a dedicated assembly cell, despite most assemblies requiring a process of drilling and fastening to similar tolerances. Assembly systems that produce more than one variant do exist but have long changeover or involve extensive retrofitting. Quick assembly of multiple products using one assembly system offers significant cost savings from reductions in capital expenditure and lead time. Recent trends advocate Reconfigurable Assembly Systems (RAS) as a solution; designed to have exactly the functionality necessary to produce a group of similar components. A state-of-the-art review finds significant benefits in deploying RAS for a group of aerostructures variants.
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

A Modified Oil Lubrication System with Flow Control to Reduce Crankshaft Bearing Friction in a Litre 4 Cylinder Diesel Engine

2016-04-05
2016-01-1045
The oil distribution system of an automotive light duty engine typically has an oil pump mechanically driven through the front-endancillaries-drive or directly off the crankshaft. Delivery pressure is regulated by a relief valve to provide an oil gallery pressure of typically 3 to 4 bar absolute at fully-warm engine running conditions. Electrification of the oil pump drive is one way to decouple pump delivery from engine speed, but this does not alter the flow distribution between parts of the engine requiring lubrication. Here, the behaviour and benefits of a system with an electrically driven, fixed displacement pump and a distributor providing control over flow to crankshaft main bearings and big end bearings is examined. The aim has been to demonstrate that by controlling flow to these bearings, without changing flow to other parts of the engine, significant reductions in engine friction can be achieved.
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.
Journal Article

Structural Quality Inspection Based on a RGB-D Sensor: Supporting Manual-to-Automated Assembly Operations

2015-09-15
2015-01-2499
The assembly and manufacture of aerospace structures, in particular legacy products, relies in many cases on the skill, or rather the craftsmanship, of a human operator. Compounded by low volume rates, the implementation of a fully automated production facility may not be cost effective. A more efficient solution may be a mixture of both manual and automated operations but herein lies an issue of human error when stepping through the build from a manual operation to an automated one. Hence the requirement for an advanced automated assembly system to contain functionality for inline structural quality checking. Machine vision, used most extensively in manufacturing, is an obvious choice, but existing solutions tend to be application specific with a closed software development architecture.
Technical Paper

Light Weight Aerospace Assembly Fixture

2015-09-15
2015-01-2496
There is the need to strive towards more advanced aircraft with the use of materials such as composites, and a desire to improve efficiency by achieving and maintaining laminar flow over a large proportion of the aircraft wing. Due to the high tolerances required to achieve laminar flow, the manufacturing processes and tooling will have to be revaluated to enable successful manufacture in a production environment. A major influence in achieving the key characteristics and tolerances is the assembly fixture. This paper details the design and manufacture of a carbon fibre based assembly fixture, required for a one-off build of an innovative leading edge wing concept. The fixture has been designed and optimised in order to make it adaptable, reconfigurable, and suitable for lifting as well as being thermally stable whilst maintaining laminar flow tolerances.
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

Application of Adaptive Local Mesh Refinement (ALMR) Approach for the Modeling of Reacting Biodiesel Fuel Spray using OpenFOAM

2014-10-13
2014-01-2565
Modeling the combustion process of a diesel-biodiesel fuel spray in a 3-dimensional (3D) computational fluid dynamics (CFD) domain remains challenging and time-consuming despite the recent advancement in computing technologies. Accurate representation of the in-cylinder processes is essential for CFD studies to provide invaluable insights into these events, which are typically limited when using conventional experimental measurement techniques. This is especially true for emerging new fuels such as biodiesels since fundamental understanding of these fuels under combusting environment is still largely unknown. The reported work here is dedicated to evaluating the Adaptive Local Mesh Refinement (ALMR) approach in OpenFOAM® for improved simulation of reacting biodiesel fuel spray. An in-house model for thermo-physical and transport properties is integrated to the code, along with a chemical mechanism comprising 113 species and 399 reactions.
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

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.
Technical Paper

The Influence of Compression Ratio on Indicated Emissions and Fuel Economy Responses to Input Variables for a D.I Diesel Engine Combustion System

2012-04-16
2012-01-0697
The effect of compression ratio on sensitivity to changes in start of injection and air-fuel ratio has been investigated on a single-cylinder DI diesel engine at fixed low and medium speeds and loads. Compression ratio was set to 17.9:1 or 13.7:1 by using pistons with different bowl sizes. Injection timing and air-to-fuel ratio were swept around a nominal map point at which gross IMEP and NOx values were matched for the two compression ratios. It was found that CO, HC and ISFC were higher at low compression ratio, but the soot/NOx trade-off improved and this could be exploited to reduce the fuel economy penalty. Sensitivity to inputs is generally similar, but high compression ratio tended to have steeper response gradients. Reducing compression ratio to 13.7 gave rise to a marked degradation of performance at light load, producing high CO emissions and a fall in combustion efficiency. This could be eased by reducing rail pressure, but the advantage in smoke emission was lost.
Technical Paper

Predicted Paths of Soot Particles in the Cylinders of a Direct Injection Diesel Engine

2012-04-16
2012-01-0148
Soot formation and distribution inside the cylinder of a light-duty direct injection diesel engine, have been predicted using Kiva-3v CFD software. Pathlines of soot particles traced from specific in-cylinder locations and crank angle instants have been explored using the results for cylinder charge motion predicted by the Kiva-3v code. Pathlines are determined assuming soot particles are massless and follow charge motion. Coagulation and agglomeration have not been taken into account. High rates of soot formation dominate during and just after the injection. Oxidation becomes dominant after the injection has terminated and throughout the power stroke. Computed soot pathlines show that soot particles formed just below the fuel spray axis during the early injection period are more likely to travel to the cylinder wall boundary layer. Soot particles above the fuel spray have lesser tendency to be conveyed to the cylinder wall.
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