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Technical Paper

Composite Automatic Wing Drilling Equipment (CAWDE)

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

Developments in Fastener Coldworking in Next Generation Automated Production Units

The incorporation of split mandrel coldworking into a single- station, automated wing assembly machine advances the technical quality of automated production. Coldworking innovations, including the CMX process and new puller unit development, combined with new clamp-up technology, have eliminated the need for manual dissasembly and deburring, both costly and time consuming procedures. These advances in automation are illustrated in the development of a next-generation automated unit created for wing production of the Airbus A340-600 wide-body program. This paper describes the implementation of new fastener and coldworking technology that led to the development of this automated manufacturing system.
Technical Paper

Sideways Collar Anvil For Use on A340-600

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

Panel Loaders for A380

The Airbus A380 is among the largest aircraft ever built. The wing panels for the Airbus A380 are massive some being as long as 33M and weighing in excess of 4000kg. Large wing skin panels are inherently difficult to handle and the immense size of the A380 makes handling that much more difficult. The crane and wing assembly crews tasked with building these wings in Broughton UK must install and remove these panels multiple times throughout the build process. The task must be preformed accurately, safely, without damage to the wing structure, and within ever-present flow time pressures. The Airbus engineering team of Alan Ferguson, Allan Ellson, and Jim Rowe challenged Electroimpact to deliver a machine and material handling process to automate the installation and removal of wing panels within in the A380 wing assembly jig.
Technical Paper

Horizontal Rivet Injector Design Used on A320 Upper Panel

This paper will cover the design of the horizontal rivet injector use on the SA2 LVER designated for stage 0 production of Airbus A320 Upper Wing Panels. The injector design is intended to decrease cycle times and increase reliability while not reducing the functionality over previous rivet feed designs used by Electroimpact. Specific rivet handling methods and design features will be reviewed and their result on cycle time and reliability discussed.
Technical Paper

Determinate Assembly of Tooling Allows Concurrent Design of Airbus Wings and Major Assembly Fixtures

Most new aircraft programs encounter the challenge of balancing the time required for design optimization with product delivery constraints. The high cost and long lead times of traditional tooling makes it difficult for aircraft manufactures to efficiently meet ever-changing market demands. The large size, low relative stiffness and high positional tolerances required for aircraft components drive the requirement for rigid fixed tooling to maintain the precision part relationships over time. Use of today’s advance 3-Dimensional CAD systems coupled with the high accuracy of CNC machines enables the success of the determinate assembly approach for aircraft tooling. This approach provides the aircraft manufacturer significant lead-time reductions while at the same time it supports enhanced system flexibility. Determinate assembly for aircraft tooling has been proven to be high successful for tooling manufacture on large-scale system such as the A380 and A340–600 wing assembly projects.
Journal Article

Utilizing an In-Process Automatic Tool Change for Drilling and Reaming Large Diameter Holes

A drill/ream cycle is necessary to produce high quality, large diameter holes in carbon-titanium stacks. Manual tool changes and traditional automatic tool changers limit hole-to-hole cycle times and hole quality. An in-process tool changer, mounted directly on the machine head, replaces a cutting tool with a reaming tool while clamp-up is maintained on the aircraft panel. By reducing or eliminating operator intervention, machine-axis moves, and optical resynchronization, an in-process automatic tool changer shortens cycle time, improves hole quality, and increases positional accuracy of holes. Automating this process also reduces risk of harm to the operator and aircraft structure.