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Technical Paper

Numerical Template

2015-09-15
2015-01-2489
This paper presents an innovative solution of portable drilling machine, lightweight and low cost, dedicated to drilling operations on single and double curved aircraft structure. Aircraft Standard drilling process mainly uses drilling templates combined with Automated Drilling Units (ADU) which is a very efficient solution. However, the management of templates and ADUs is a time consuming and costly task in regards to the large quantity of existing references spread over every aircraft production sites. Therefore, to help reducing those costs and also workload, the concept of the Numerical Template (NCT) has been designed, using classic and robust mechanical devices, hand-held, lightweight and universal. NCT architecture concept could led to a family of NCT with different dimensions of frame parts(X,Y,Z), fitted to the targeted area geometry. The system is able to guaranty an accuracy of ± 0.5 mm and a normality of ±0.5°.
Technical Paper

Snake-Arm Robots: A New Approach to Aircraft Assembly

2006-09-12
2006-01-3141
This paper describes work being conducted by OC Robotics and Airbus to develop snake-arm robot technology suitable for conducting automated inspection and assembly tasks within wing boxes. The composite, single skin construction of aircraft structures presents new challenges for robotic assembly. During box close-out it is necessary for aircraft fitters to climb into the wing box through a small access panel and use manual or power tools to perform a variety of tasks. These manual interventions give rise to a number of health and safety concerns. Snake-arm robots provide a means to replace manual procedures by delivering the required tools to all areas of the wing box. The advantages of automating in-wing processes will be discussed. This paper presents early stage results of the demonstration snake-arm robot and outlines expectations for future development.
Technical Paper

Simply Supported Retractable Top Beam for Wing Major Assembly Jig

2006-09-12
2006-01-3127
A large free-standing structure is constructed to positively position the spar and related components in the major assembly jig of the wing for a military transport aircraft. The beam of this structure is mounted on mechanisms enabling the lateral retraction of the beam and tooling to provide full part loading access and extraction of a completed wing. The free-standing nature of this design also allows full integration of an automated drilling machine into the jig.
Technical Paper

Composite Automatic Wing Drilling Equipment (CAWDE)

2006-09-12
2006-01-3162
A custom 5-axis machine tool is constructed to enable fully automated drilling and slave-bolt insertion of composite and metallic wingbox components for a new military transport aircraft. The machine tool can be transported to serve many assembly jigs within the cell. Several features enhance accuracy, capability, and operator safety.
Technical Paper

Sideways Collar Anvil For Use on A340-600

2005-10-03
2005-01-3300
A new method of installing LGP collars onto titanium lock bolts has been brought into production in the Airbus wing manufacturing facility in Broughton, Wales. The feed system involves transporting the collar down a rectangular cross-sectioned hose, through a rectangular pathway in the machine clamp anvil to the swage die without the use of fingers or grippers. This method allows the reliable feeding the collars without needing to adjust the position of feed fingers or grippers relative to the tool centerline. Also, more than one fastener diameter can be fed through one anvil geometry, requiring only a die change to switch between certain fastener diameters. In our application, offset and straight stringer geometries are accommodated by the same anvil.
Technical Paper

Lug Cutting and Trimming of the Carbon Fibre Wing Panels of the Airbus A400m with Portable Hand Positioned Tools

2007-09-17
2007-01-3795
The Airbus A400m has carbon fibre wing panels on both the upper and lower surfaces. When manufactured, these panels come supplied with various lugs on the periphery of the panel. Some are used for lifting the panel, some are used for indexing the panel; however, all lugs must be removed at some time during wing build. Lug thickness varies from 4mm to 14mm; in addition, many lugs must be cut to a 2D profile rather than just straight. The main challenge of the project was to deliver a tool that was small, portable and compact, but that could also accurately slot thick carbon fibre panels, without de-lamination, leaving a good surface finish. The solution was an air powered routing hand tool that was mechanically guided along a 2D path using a cam profile. Special diamond grit cutters were used to cut the initial slot and reduce the machining forces to a bare minimum, with the finishing cut done using a PCD router bit to obtain a good surface finish.
Technical Paper

Snake-Arm Robots: A New Approach to Aircraft Assembly

2007-09-17
2007-01-3870
This paper describes work being conducted by OC Robotics and Airbus to develop snake-arm robots to conduct assembly tasks within wing boxes - an area currently inaccessible for automation. The composite, single skin construction of aircraft structures presents new assembly challenges. Currently during box close-out it is necessary for aircraft fitters to climb into the wing box through small access panels and use manual or power tools to perform a variety of tasks. In future wing designs it may be that certain parts of the wing do not provide adequate access for manual assembly methods. It is also known that these manual interventions introduce health and safety concerns with their associated costs. Snake-arm robots provide a means to replace manual procedures by delivering the required tools to all areas of the wing box. Such a development has broader implications for aircraft design and assembly.
Technical Paper

Automated Wing Drilling System for the A380-GRAWDE

2003-09-08
2003-01-2940
On Airbus aircraft, the undercarriage reinforcing is attached through the lower wing skin using bolts up to 1-inch in diameter through as much as a 4-inch stack up. This operation typically takes place in the wing box assembly jigs. Manual hole drilling for these bolts has traditionally required massive drill templates and large positive feed drill motors. In spite of these large tools, the holes must be drilled in multiple steps to reduce the thrust loads, which adds process time. For the new A380, Airbus UK wanted to explore a more efficient method of drilling these large diameter holes. Introducing automated drilling equipment, which is capable of drilling these holes and still allows for the required manual access within the wing box assembly jig, was a significant challenge. To remain cost effective, the equipment must be flexible and mobile, a llowing it to be used on multiple assemblies.
Technical Paper

Drilling Cost Model

2002-09-30
2002-01-2632
The paper describes a way of generating a cost model, which is aimed to compare different drilling processes. The development of this tool is a part of an ongoing European Union funded aircraft industry project called ADFAST (Automation for Drilling, Fastening, Assembly, Systems Integration, and Tooling). This part of the project involves 4 industrial partners, (Alenia, Airbus Espana SL, Airbus UK and Saab AB), 1 equipment developer (Novator AB) and 1 academic institute (Linkoping University). The model has been created to enable the benefits of an advanced system such as orbital drilling to be quantified. The model is able to generate a cycle time and a cost for the whole drilling process involving equipment, consumables and assembly of varied aircraft structures. The challenge of the task was to develop the ability of modeling a process with a sequence of drilling operations that the model user, in an intuitive way, can select and modify.
Journal Article

Aircraft Wing Build Philosophy Change through System Pre-Equipping of Major Components

2016-09-27
2016-01-2120
In the civil aircraft industry there is a continuous drive to increase the aircraft production rate, particularly for single aisle aircraft where there is a large backlog of orders. One of the bottlenecks is the wing assembly process which is largely manual due to the complexity of the task and the limited accessibility. The presented work describes a general wing build approach for both structure and systems equipping operations. A modified build philosophy is then proposed, concerned with large component pre-equipping, such as skins, spars or ribs. The approach benefits from an offloading of the systems equipping phase and allowing for higher flexibility to organize the pre-equipping stations as separate entities from the overall production line. Its application is presented in the context of an industrial project focused on selecting feasible system candidates for a fixed wing design, based on assembly consideration risks for tooling, interference and access.
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