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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.
Journal Article

One Piece AFP Spar Manufacture

2011-10-18
2011-01-2592
Manufacturing C cross-sectional components with high aspect ratios out of carbon fiber reinforced composites is desirable by the aircraft industry. Modular AFP heads with short, fixed tow path have the fundamental performance characteristics required to successfully and productively automate the production of these part families. Aircraft parts in this family include wing spars, stringers, and fuselage frames.
Journal Article

LTD Bolt Injection System

2011-10-18
2011-01-2776
Growing use of composite materials in aircraft wing construction requires a new generation of drilling machines. Electroimpact's new LTD drilling machine features a Bolt Injector with improvements for more streamlined operation and less operator intervention. The Bolt Injector “injects” or stages Single Sided Temporary Fasteners (SSTF). It features hands-free automated tool change between three different feed paths for a total of eight different fastener diameters being fed through one set of Bolt Injector hardware. This is accomplished with an indexing system for three feed tubes fed to the machine head, with each feed tube serving more than one diameter. Furthermore the LTD Bolt Injector checks fastener diameter at the machine head and also length in conjunction with Bolt Inserter servo axis. The bolt diameter is checked with an analog sensor attached to a gripping mechanism. The length check is accomplished with a “touch off” pad and the Inserter's servo motor encoder.
Journal Article

Automatic Bolt Feeding on a Multifunction Flextrack

2011-10-18
2011-01-2773
One of the largest advancements in the use of the Flextrack technology is the addition of automated fastener installation on the Multifunction Flextrack made by Electroimpact. The new Flextrack installs SSTF (Single Sided Temporary Fasteners) into the holes it drills without removing clamp-up force from the workpiece. This is the first Flextrack to drill and install fasteners and its functionality goes beyond even these functions. The fasteners, SSTF bolts, are increasingly replacing more cumbersome and manual tools for temporary fastening of aerospace components during assembly. They provide doweling, clamp-up, and feature a compact head to facilitate machine installation. The new Multifunction Flextrack carries the bolts on the machine head as opposed to being fed through a feed tube. A Bolt Cartridge System carries up to 80 bolts onboard the Flextrack and the Cartridges can be quick changed for use with several different diameters.
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.
Journal Article

Increasing Machine Service Life of Large Envelope, High Acceleration AFP Machines

2013-09-17
2013-01-2297
Since Automated Fiber Placement (AFP) is used to manufacture twin-aisled commercial aircraft parts, extremely large envelope machines are often required and appropriate. Additionally, for very large parts, the average AFP course length may be on the order of one to two meters, and the part may have numerous contours. With courses of this length, a high acceleration machine is necessary to achieve fast laydown rates because the machine is frequently starting and stopping. Part contour also requires high acceleration machine axes to accurately maintain the AFP tow path at high feedrates. Large machines with high accelerations result in very large loads on bearings. Large loads and the long, high speed axis travels associated with large envelope machines make achieving a long service life difficult. Designing efficient, lightweight machine structures becomes critical to provide long machine service life.
Journal Article

Rivet and Bolt Injector with Bomb Bay Ejection Doors

2013-09-17
2013-01-2151
Electroimpact's newest riveting machine features a track-style injector with Bomb Bay Ejection Doors. The Bomb Bay Ejection Doors are a robust way to eject fasteners from track style injector. Track style injectors are commonly used by Electroimpact and others in the industry. Using the Bomb Bay Doors for fastener ejection consists of opening the tracks allowing very solid clearing of an injector when ejecting a fastener translating to a more reliable fastener delivery system. Examples of when fastener ejection is needed are when a fastener is sent backwards, when there are two in the tube, or when a machine operator stops or resets the machine during a fastening cycle. This method allows fasteners to be cleared in nearly every situation when ejecting a fastener is required. Additional feature of Electroimpact's new injection system is integrated anvil tool change.
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

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

Join Cell for the G150 Aircraft

2006-09-12
2006-01-3123
A simple, open, post and index system is used for final alignment and joining of the fuselage and wings of a new passenger business jet. 19 manually actuated axes precisely move the wings, forward, and rear fuselage sections into position. Movement is accomplished with industrial jacking screws and positions recorded with precision linear potentiometers. Wing sweep, angle of attack, and dihedral are monitored and controlled. The axes positions are downloaded to data files for verification and data archiving. The Gulfstream G150 Join Cell's open architecture enhances access to fasten the main aircraft structure while maintaining flight critical geometry.
Journal Article

Plate Cartridge Compact Flexible Automatic Feed System

2016-09-27
2016-01-2080
The newest generation of automated fastening machines require a feed system that is smaller, more flexible, and faster than any currently available. The feed system must be compact enough to fit on a robot base, yet have a capacity large enough to support unmanned production for hours. A large variety of fasteners must be supported and the entire system must be reloaded or reconfigured in minutes to match the next work piece being assembled by the machine. When requested by the part program, the correct fastener must be released directly and immediately into the feed tube to minimize cycle time. This paper describes a new “plate cartridge” feed system developed to meet these needs.
Journal Article

Automatic Temporary Fastener Installation System for Wingbox Assembly

2016-09-27
2016-01-2085
The automation cycle time of wing assembly can be shortened by the automated installation of single-sided temporary fasteners to provide temporary part clamping and doweling during panel drilling. Feeding these fasteners poses problems due to their complexity in design and overall heavy weight. In the past, Electroimpact has remotely fed these fasteners by blowing them through pneumatic tubing. This technique has resulted in occasional damage to fasteners during delivery and a complex feed system that requires frequent maintenance. Due to these issues, Electroimpact has developed a new fully automated single-sided temporary fastening system for installation of the LISI Clampberry fasteners in wing panels for the C919 wing factory in Yanliang, China. The feed system stores fasteners in gravity-fed cartridges on the end effector near the point of installation.
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

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

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.
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