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Journal Article

Optimization of Assembly Processes by Heated Air Technology

In today's assembly of large complex Carbon Fiber Reinforced Plastics (CFRP) components, e.g. vertical tail planes (VTP) of modern passenger aircrafts, liquid resin-based materials are used for several applications. Commonly, liquid resin-based materials are used to close gaps between the CFRP single parts during assembly (shimming) or to smoothen outer surfaces to fulfill aerodynamic requirements (aerodynamic sealing). Curing times of standard resin-based materials vary between eight to twelve hours at room temperature under normal shopfloor conditions regarding air humidity. In running aircraft production such long curing times are definitely waste in the sense of lead time. By heating these resin-based materials the common curing time can drastically be reduced down to two hours. By using heated air - instead of e.g. heating lamps - the curing process can reliably be controlled, without any risk of overheating and destroying the sealant or shim material.
Journal Article

Methodology for Classification of Shim Materials

As a result of the increasing use of fibre reinforced plastic (FRP) components in a modern commercial aircraft, manufacturers are facing new challenges - especially with regards to the realisation of significant build rates. One challenge is the larger variation of the thickness of FRP components compared with metal parts that can normally be manufactured within a very narrow thickness tolerance bandwidth. The larger thickness variation of composite structures has an impact on the shape of the component and especially on the surfaces intended to be joined together with other components. As a result, gaps between the components to be assembled could be encountered. However, from a structural point of view, gaps can only be accepted to a certain extent in order to maintain the structural integrity of the joint. Today's state of the art technologies to close gaps between FRP structures comprise shimming methods using liquid and solid shims.
Technical Paper

Use of an Innovative Modular Gripper System for Flexible Aircraft Assembly Operations

The rising demand for civil aircraft leads to the development of flexible and adaptive production systems in aviation industry. Due to economic efficiency, operational accuracy and high performance these manufacturing and assembly systems must be technologically robust and standardized. The current aircraft assembly and its jigs are characterized by a high complexity with poor changeability and low adaptability. In this context, the use of industrial robots and standardized jigs promise highly flexible and accurate complex assembly operations. This paper deals with the flexible and adaptable aircraft assembly based on industrial robots with special end-effectors for shaping operations. By the development and use of lightweight gripper system made of carbon fiber reinforced plastics the required scaling, robustness and stiffness of the whole assembly system can be realized.
Technical Paper

Modular and Open Test Bench Architecture for Distributed Testing

Currently, aircraft system Test Benches are often proprietary systems, specifically designed and configured for a dedicated System Under Test (SUT). Today, no standards for configuration, data communication, and data exchange formats are available for avionics Test Benches. This leads to high Test Bench development costs and redundant activities between aircraft system suppliers and airframers. In the case of obsolescence issues for test system components, it is very costly to replace the respective parts as a high integration and reconfiguration effort is required. In the scope of an R&T project, involving several test system suppliers and aircraft system suppliers as well as Airbus as an aircraft manufacturer, a generic and modular architecture for an open test environment is under development. A further goal of the Virtual and Hybrid Testing Next Generation (VHTNG) research project is to prepare a set of open standards for the interfaces to this architecture.
Journal Article

System Integration in Aircraft Environment - Hydraulic Performances through Coupled Simulations

An Airbus methodology for the assessment of accurate hydraulic performance at early program stages in the complete aircraft and power consuming systems environment based on joint collaboration with Chiastek is presented. The aim is to comfort the prediction of an aircraft hydraulic performance in order to limit the need for a physical integration test bench and extensive flight test campaign but also to avoid late system redesign based on robust early stage model based engineering and to secure the aircraft entry-into-service.