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Automating AFP Tuning Using a Laser Sensor

2012-03-22
Electroimpact Automatic Fiber Placement (AFP) machines lay-up composite parts by accurately placing carbon fiber tow (strips of impregnated carbon fiber) on a mould. In order to achieve high accuracy at high speeds, the processes of feeding and cutting tows must be tuned. Historically, the tuning has been a time-consuming, manual process. This paper will present a methodology to replace manual measurements with an automated laser, improve measurement speed by an order of magnitude, improve accuracy from +/? 0.020? (manual) to +/? 0.015? (laser), and eliminate human error. Presenter Joshua Cemenska, Electroimpact Inc.
Technical Paper

Refurbishment of 767 ASAT Drill-Rivet-Lockbolt Machines

2010-09-28
2010-01-1844
Boeing has relied upon the 767 ASAT (ASAT1) since 1983 to fasten the chords, stiffeners and rib posts to the web of the four 767 wing spars. The machine was originally commissioned with a Terra five axis CNC control. The Terra company went out of business and the controls were replaced with a custom DOS application in 1990. These are now hard to support so Boeing solicited proposals. Electroimpact proposed to retrofit with a Fanuc 31I CNC, and in addition, to replace all associated sensors, cables and feedback systems. This work is now complete on two of the four machines. Both left front and right front are in production with the new CNC control.
Technical Paper

Automatically Feeding and Installing Single Side Slave Fasteners

2010-09-28
2010-01-1842
The use of two-piece temporary fasteners is not an option on some build methodologies, processes, or techniques because of limited accessibility. To solve this problem the use of Single Side Slave fasteners (SSSF) were used. With the development of the SSSF, new process tools also needed to be developed to automatically feed and install these fasteners. This paper will cover the development of the process tools used to feed and install SSSF. The tools were designed to automatically insert and torque 1/4\mi - 5/8\mi SSSFs. This paper will cover both the development of the Bolt injector and Bolt inserter.
Technical Paper

Vision System Non Contact Measurement of Pintail Type Fasteners

2010-09-28
2010-01-1870
Accurately measuring the length of a pintail type fastener is limited by the process of forming the fastener. When the pintail is formed its overall length is not dimensionally controlled. To accurately measure the grip of the bolt a vision system is utilized that finds the notch between the tail and bolt shank. The grip, diameter, and angle of the bolt prior to insertion are then measured. This method proves to be more accurate than measuring the bolt mechanically and provides a number of other advantages including; decreased measurement time, improved accuracy, FOD detection, and angle of the bolt in the fingers prior to insertion.
Technical Paper

Automatic Feeding of Temporary Fasteners in Confined Spaces

2010-09-28
2010-01-1879
Single Sided Slave Fasteners (SSSF) or Single Sided Temporary Fasteners (SSTF) are increasingly replacing more cumbersome and manual tools for temporary doweling and clamping of aerospace components during assembly. Their ability to clamp provide doweling and clamping reduce the amount of tooling required. Due to their low profile and blind (one-sided) capability, the key benefit of this new technology is the ability to install these fasteners with automated machines. Electroimpact has developed machines to feed primarily SSTF bolts made application-specific by Centrix LLC [ 1 ]. The application discussed in this paper presented problems of confined spaces where a variety of fasteners were required to be fed automatically. To address this, Electroimpact developed new Bolt Injector and Bolt Inserter technology to feed multiple diameters of SSTF bolts in a very small package. Application-specific SSTF were designed such that multiple diameters could be fed through one feed tube.
Technical Paper

Slug Rivet Machine Installs 16 Rivets Per Minute Drill-Rivet-Shave

2009-11-10
2009-01-3155
Electroimpact has designed the E6000, the next generation riveting machine, with a focus on reduced weight and speed. It will initially be used on ARJ21 wing panels in Xi'an, China, but it is able to fasten a variety of panels including A320 and 737. The E6000's fastening cycle is capable of forming and shaving 16 rivets per minute. Head alignment is maintained by two independent four axis heads using a combination of controls and kinematics. Process tool speed has been improved via high lead screws, high speed Fanuc motors, and a shorter head stone drop. An innovative EI operator interface enhances end user experience.
Technical Paper

Development of a Multi Spindle Flexible Drilling System for Circumferential Splice Drilling Applications on the 777 Airplane

2008-09-16
2008-01-2298
Flex Track Drilling systems are being used increasingly in aerospace applications providing low cost, highly efficient automated drilling systems. Certain applications like circumferential splice drilling on large size airplane fuselages require multi spindle flex track systems working in tandem to meet production efficiency requirements. This paper discusses the development of a multi spindle flex track drilling system for a circumferential splice drilling on the 777 airplane. The multi spindle system developed uses a variety of flex track carriages attached to the flexible vacuum tracks to allow for offset or wide inside drilling. Segmented machine programmes allow these multiple machines to be deployed on the same circumferential splice on the airplane providing the multi spindle system. Interfacing of the multiple spindles is achieved by a custom OEM interface using a single screen thereby ensuring simplicity of operation.
Technical Paper

Electromagnetic Bolt Inserter

2011-10-18
2011-01-2775
Interference bolts are widely used in aircraft assembly. Electroimpact has used its Low voltage Electromagnetic Riveter (LVER) technology to automatically swage collars on these bolts. The bolts are installed using two process tools, a percussive bolt inserter and the EMR. The bolt inserter inserts the bolt and the EMR swages the collar. This increased productivity over manual installation, but there was still production time to be saved. The Electromagnetic Bolt Inserter (EMB) was designed to increase production rate even more when installing bolts and swaging a collar onto the bolt. The EMB combines the great benefits of Electroimpact's Low Voltage Electromagnetic riveting technology with a bolt inserter.
Technical Paper

5-Axis Flex Track System

2012-09-10
2012-01-1859
Flex Track Systems are seeing increased usage in aerospace applications for joining large assemblies, such as fuselage sections. Previous systems were limited to work pieces that allowed the tracks to follow a gentle radius of curvature, limiting the locations where the system could be used. This paper describes a new 5-Axis Flex Track System developed to expand the usage of the systems, allowing them to process work pieces containing complex and irregular contours. Processing complex contours is accomplished through the addition of A and B axes providing normalization in multiple directions. These new systems are configured with the latest multi-function process capabilities allowing drilling, hole quality measurement, and temporary or permanent fastener installation.
Technical Paper

Fully Automated Robotic Tool Change

2015-09-15
2015-01-2508
An improved aircraft assembly line incorporates fully automated robotic tool change. Ten machine tools, each with two onboard 6-axis robots, drill and fasten airplane structural components. The robots change 100% of the process tooling (drill bits, bolt anvils, hole probes, and nosepieces) to allow seamless transition across the entire range of hole and fastener sizes (3/16″-7/16″). To support required rate, total tool change time (including automatic calibration) is less than 80 seconds. This paper describes the robots and their end effector hardware, reliability testing, and simulations for both mechanical clearance and cycle time estimation.
Technical Paper

3D Countersink Measurement

2015-09-15
2015-01-2510
Accurate measurement of countersinks in curved parts has always been a challenge. The countersink reference is defined relative to the panel surface which includes some degree of curvature. This curvature thus makes accurate measurements very difficult using both contact and 2D non-contact measurements. By utilizing structured light 3D vision technologies, the ability to very accurately measure a countersink to small tolerances can be achieved. By knowing the pose of the camera and projector, triangulation can be used to calculate the distance to thousands of points on the panel and countersink surface. The plane of the panel is then calculated using Random Sample Consensus (RANSAC) method from the dataset of points which can be adjusted to account for panel curvatures. The countersink is then found using a similar RANSAC method.
Technical Paper

Robotic Drilling and Countersinking on Highly Curved Surfaces

2015-09-15
2015-01-2517
Electroimpact has developed a novel method for accurately drilling and countersinking holes on highly convex parts using an articulated arm robotic drilling system. Highly curved parts, such as the leading edge of an aircraft wing, present numerous challenges when attempting to drill normal to the part surface and produce tight tolerance countersinks. Electroipmact's Accurate Robot technology allows extremely accurate positioning of the tool point and the spindle vector orientation. However, due to the high local curvature of the part, even a small positional deviation of the tool point can result in a significantly different normal vector than expected from an NC program. An off-normal hole will result in an out of tolerance countersink and a non-flush fastener.
Technical Paper

Use of Synchronized Parallel Grippers in Fastener Injection Systems

2015-09-15
2015-01-2515
A new style of rivet injector is in production use on a variety of fastening machines used by major aircraft manufacturers. In this injector the opposing sides of the rivet guide blocks are attached to the arms of a parallel gripper. We have implemented the parallel gripper in both vertical axis and horizontal axis riveting applications. It is equally effective in both orientations. We have implemented the parallel gripper rivet injector on headed rivets, threaded bolts, ribbed swage bolts and unheaded (slug) rivets.
Technical Paper

An Automated Production Fastening System for LGP and Hi-Lok Titanium Bolts for the Boeing 737 Wing Panel Assembly Line

2015-09-15
2015-01-2514
A new automated production system for installation of Lightweight Groove Proportioned (LGP) and Hi-Lock bolts in wing panels has been implemented in the Boeing 737 wing manufacturing facility in Renton, Washington. The system inserts LGP and Hi-Lok bolts into interference holes using a ball screw mechanical squeeze process supported by a back side rod-locked pneumatic clamp cylinder. Collars are fed and loaded onto a swage die retaining pin, and swaging is performed through ball screw mechanical squeeze. Offset and straight collar tools allow the machine to access 99.9% of fasteners in 3/16″, ¼″ and 5/16″ diameters. Collar stripping forces are resolved using a dynamic ram inertial technique that reduces the pull on the work piece. Titanium TN nuts are fed and loaded into a socket with a retaining spring, and installed on Hi-Loks Hi-Lok with a Bosch right angle nut runner.
Technical Paper

High Speed Fastener Inspection

2016-09-27
2016-01-2145
Inspection of fasteners prior to installation is critical to the quality of aerospace parts. Fasteners must be inspected for length/grip and diameter at a minimum. Inspecting the fasteners mechanically just prior to insertion can cause additional cycle time loss if inspection cannot be performed at the same time as other operations. To decrease fastener inspection times and to ensure fastener cartridges contain the expected fastener a system was devised to measure the fastener as it travels down the fastener feed tube. This process could be adapted to inspection of fasteners being fed to the process head of a running machine eliminating the mechanical inspection requirement and thus decreasing cycle time.
Technical Paper

Magnetic Safety Base for Automated Riveting and Bolting

2016-09-27
2016-01-2087
There is an ever-present risk for the lower ram on a riveting machine to suffer a damaging collision with aircraft parts during automated fastening processes. The risk intensifies when part frame geometry is complex and fastener locations are close to part features. The lower anvil must be led through an obstructive environment, and there is need for crash protection during side-to-side and lowering motion. An additional requirement is stripping bolt collars using the downward motion of the lower ram, which can require as much as 2500 pounds of pulling force. The retention force on the lower anvil would therefore need to be in excess of 2500 pounds. To accomplish this a CNC controlled electromagnetic interface was developed, capable of pulling with 0-3400 pounds. This electromagnetic safety base releases when impact occurs from the sides or during downward motion (5 sided crash protection), and it retains all riveting and bolting functionality.
Technical Paper

Automated Riveting of C-130J Aft Fuselage Panels

2017-09-19
2017-01-2075
Electroimpact and Lockheed Martin have developed an automated drilling and fastening system for C-130J aft fuselage panels. Numerous design and manufacturing challenges were addressed to incorporate the system into Lockheed Martin’s existing manufacturing paradigm and to adapt Electroimpact’s existing line of riveting machines for manufacture of these legacy aircraft parts. Challenges to automation included design of a very long yet sufficiently rigid and lightweight offset riveting anvil for fastening around deep circumferential frames, automated feeding of very short, “square” rivets in which the length is similar to the head diameter, creation of part programs and simulation models for legacy parts with no existing 3d manufacturing data, and crash protection for the aircraft part from machine collisions, given the uncertainties inherent in the model and the unique geometry of the aircraft parts.
Technical Paper

Fully Automated Off-Line Cartridge Filling Station

2017-09-19
2017-01-2100
A fully automated off-line cartridge filling station has been commissioned to support the new Boeing SAL production cell. The filing station uses automated fastener feed technology that is typically found on the machines themselves. Incorporating this technology off-line in place of the traditional manual handling processes extends the benefits of automation beyond the main manufacturing cell. A single operator is able to keep up with the demand of eight production fastening machines while maintaining the highest levels of accuracy and quality. Additional benefits to this application of automation include reduction of the operators exposure to risks associated with manual handling and repetitive tasks.
Technical Paper

EMR with High Reliability for Retrofit of E4100 Riveting Gantry Machines

2017-09-19
2017-01-2099
Electroimpact has retrofitted two E4100 riveting gantry machines and two more are in process. These machines use the EMR (Electromagnetic Riveter) riveting process for the installation of slug rivets. We have improved the skin side EMR to provide fast and reliable results: reliability improved by eliminating a weekly shutdown of the machine. In paper 2015-01-2515 we showed the slug rivet injector using a Synchronized Parallel Gripper that provides good results over multiple rivet diameters. This injector is mounted to the skin side EMR so that the rivet injection can be done at any position of the shuttle table. The EMR is a challenging application for the fingers due to shock and vibration. In previous designs, fingers would occasionally be thrown out of the slots. To provide reliable results we redesigned the fingers retainer to capture the finger in a slotted plastic block which slides along the outside diameter of the driver bearing.
Technical Paper

AFP Automated Inspection System Performance and Expectations

2017-09-19
2017-01-2150
In AFP manufacturing systems, manually inspection of parts consumes a large portion of total production time and is susceptible to missing defects. The aerospace industry is responding to this inefficiency by focusing on the development of automated inspection systems. The first generation of automated inspection systems is now entering production. This paper reviews the performance of the first generation system and discusses reasonable expectations. Estimates of automated inspection time will be made, and it will be shown that the automated solution enables a detailed statistical analysis of manufactured part quality and provides the data necessary for statistical process control. Data collection allows for a reduction in rework because not all errors need to be corrected. Expectations will be set for the accuracy for both ply boundary and overlap/gap measurements. The time and resource cost of development and integration will also be discussed.
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