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Technical Paper

A Flexible Development System for Automated Aircraft Assembly

1996-10-01
961878
McDonnell Douglas Aircraft in St. Louis, MO manufacturers various transport and fighter military aircraft such as the C-17 and the F/A-18. With shrinking military budgets and increased competition, market forces demand high quality parts at lower cost and shorter lead times. Currently, a large number of different fastener types which include both solid rivets and interference bolts are used to fasten these assemblies. The majority of these fasteners are installed by hand or by using manually operated C-Frame riveters. MDA engineers recognized that in order to reach their goals they would be required to rethink all phases of the assembly system, which includes fastener selection, part fixturing and fastener installation methods. Phase 1 of this program is to identify and to develop fastener installation processes which will provide the required flexibility. The EMR fastening process provides this flexibility.
Technical Paper

Automatic Stringer Drilling System

1994-10-01
941832
Northrop Corporation manufactures body panels for the Boeing 747 aircraft. There are 1259 different stringer configurations used on the three 747 models with an average of 839 stringers per ship set. Until recently, all drain holes and skin coordination pilot holes were drilled manually using plastic application template tools (PATTS). Inventory costs were high and manual drilling errors led to excessive scrap and rework rates. Northrop engineers recognized that automating the stringer drilling process would produce higher quality parts at a lower cost. Northrop worked with Electroimpact, Inc. to develop the Automatic Stringer Drilling System (ASDS). The ASDS automatically clamps and drills all straight and contoured stringers used on the 747. Stringers are mounted on a rotating platform that provides +/- 90° of motion. Two servo-servo drills are mounted on a cantilevered arm with 25 feet of X-axis travel.
Technical Paper

Evaluation of the EMR for Swaging Collars on Advanced Composite Laminates

2005-10-03
2005-01-3299
The Boeing 787 Dreamliner will be the most fuel-efficient airliner in the world when it enters service in 2008. To help achieve this, Boeing will utilize state-of-the-art carbon fiber for primary structures. Advanced manufacturing techniques and processes will be used in the assembly of large composite structures. Electroimpact has proposed a system utilizing the low recoil Low Voltage Electromagnetic Riveter (LVER) to drill and install bolts. A test program was initiated between Boeing Materials Process and Engineering (MP&E) and Electroimpact to validate the LVER process for swaging titanium collars on titanium pins in composite material. This paper details the results of these tests.
Technical Paper

High-Speed Fiber Placement on Large Complex Structures

2007-09-17
2007-01-3843
Automated Fiber Placement (AFP) equipment has been developed capable of laying fiber in excess of 2000 inches per minute on full-size, complex parts. Two such high-speed machines will be installed for production of a nose section for a large twin-aisle commercial aircraft fuselage at Spirit AeroSystems in Wichita, Kansas along with a rotator for the fuselage mandrel. The problem of cutting and adding on the fly at these speeds requires thorough re-evaluation of all aspects of the technology, including the mechanical, controls, servos systems, and programming systems. Factors to be considered for high speed cut and add on the fly are discussed.
Technical Paper

Robotic Drilling System for 737 Aileron

2007-09-17
2007-01-3821
Boeing's wholly owned subsidiary in Australia, Hawker de Havilland produces all ailerons for the Boeing 737 family of aircraft. Increasing production rates required to meet market demand drove the requirements for a new updated approach to assembly of these parts. Using lean principals, a pulsed flow line approach was developed. A component of this new line is the integration of a flexible robotic drilling/trimming system. The new robotic system is required to meet aggressive tack time targets with high levels of reliability. The selected system was built on a Kuka KR360-2 conventional articulated arm robot. A significant challenge of this project was the requirement for the process head to work efficiently on an aileron in an existing jig. As a result a new side-mounted drill and trim end effector was developed. Automated tool changers for both cutters and pressure foot assemblies eliminated the requirement for in- process manual intervention.
Technical Paper

Automated Wing Panel Assembly for the A340-600

2000-09-19
2000-01-3015
The Airbus A340-600 wing panel manufacturing system, which entered production in 1999, represents a major milestone for automated aircraft assembly. The new A340-600 system builds upon the success of the E4000 based A320 wing panel assembly system, which was introduced into production three years ago. The new A340-600 system consists of two 440 ft. assembly lines. One produces upper wing skin panels and the second produces lower skin panels. Each line consists of three fully automated CNC controlled flexible fixtures placed end to end serviced by two E4100 CNC assemble machines. Each fixture accepts multiple wing panels and can be automatically changed between the different configurations. Stringers are located and held using clamps mounted to “popping posts”. These posts automatically drop out of the machine path into the floor to provide clearance for complete stringer to skin fastening.
Technical Paper

A Two Tower Riveting Machine with a True Z Axis

2004-09-21
2004-01-2807
The A380 aircraft is the largest passenger aircraft ever built and an appropriate machine was required to accomplish the fastening of the wing plank to stringer and buttstrap joints. The lower wing panels are curved along the length and move 1.42m out of plane. All previous E4000 machines had clampup heads that would extend and retract whatever distance was required to contact the wing panel. To improve toolpoint alignment, Electroimpact added a Z-axis that moves the yoke in order to reduce the necessary travel envelope of the clamp table axes and to cause them to clamp in the same plane regardless of panel position along the Z-axis.
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