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Technical Paper

Current Riveting/Fastening Methodology and Future Assembly Equipment Philosophy

This paper is focusing on considerations pertaining to riveting/fastening systems and assembly methodology currently in use for large aircraft fuselage structures. Discussion of process principles on which current systems are based is addressing distribution of rivets along the aircraft structure, riveting/fastening systems and equipment flexibility. An attempt was made to predict the most probable future equipment development trends based on the need for more efficiency in all aircraft structural assembly and in high level and final assembly areas.
Technical Paper

Wing Structural Assembly Methodology

This paper reviews today's aircraft wing production assembly methodology and technologies as well as innovative ideas for advancing the high-level wing assembly state-of-the-art. Automated wing assembly systems are only being utilized to rivet/fasten first level subassemblies like panels, spars, and ribs. All other high level assembly tasks are performed manually, incurring associated increases in recurring costs due to production inefficiencies, long lead times, expensive rate tooling, and difficult assembly tasks performed inside small wing compartments. Existing assembly methods, process parameters, and the process characteristics of manual, machine, and man/machine systems provide many opportunities for improving wing assembly.
Technical Paper

Use of Electromagnetic and Vacuum Forces on Aircraft Assembly

Decades ago our innovative grandfathers developed the first automated riveting machines based on hard automation using kinematics and tools attached to a C-frame. The C-frame serves multiple functions: First, it holds the upper and lower tools in fixed positions relative to each other; second, it translates upper active tooling forces to the lower tool; and third, it embraces the part placed between the upper and lower tool. C-frames and newly developed yoke, ring and gantry machines, used for low level (first, second) fuselage and wing assembly are growing in size to exorbitant proportions to satisfy requirements of larger and larger structures. High costs are dictated by massive kinematics and complex controls that provide stability, precision, and process speed. All this is mainly needed because we have to carry mechanical forces around the part, from upper to lower tool along the C-frame, gantry, yoke, bridge, etc.