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Orbital Drilling Machine for One Way Assembly in Hard Materials

2012-03-23
In Aeronautic industry, when we launch a new industrialization for an aircraft sub assembly we always have the same questions in mind for drilling operations, especially when focusing on lean manufacturing. How can we avoid dismantling and deburring parts after drilling operation? Can a drilling centre perform all the tasks needed to deliver a hole ready to install final fastener? How can we decrease down-time of the drilling centre? Can a drilling centre be integrated in a pulse assembly line? How can we improve environmental efficiency of a drilling centre? It is based on these main drivers that AIRBUS has developed, with SPIE and SOS, a new generation of drilling centre dedicated for hard materials such as titanium, and high thicknesses. The first application was for the assembly of the primary structure of A350 engine pylons. The main solution that was implemented meeting several objectives was the development of orbital drilling technology in hard metal stacks.
Technical Paper

Review of Reconfigurable Assembly Systems Technologies for Cost Effective Wing Structure Assembly

2013-09-17
2013-01-2336
Airbus commercial wings are assembled manually in dedicated steel structures. The lead time to design, manufacture and commission these fixtures is often in excess of 24 months. Due to the nature of these fixtures, manufacturing is slow in responding to changes in demand. There is underused capacity in some areas and insufficient ramp-up speed where increased production rate is needed. Reconfigurable Manufacturing Systems and Reconfigurable Assembly Systems (RAS) provide an approach to system design that provides appropriate capacity when needed. The aim of the paper is to review RAS technologies that are suitable for cost-effective wing structure assembly and what knowledge gaps exist for a RAS to be achieved. The paper examines successful cases of RAS and reviews relevant system design approaches. Cost savings are acknowledged and tabularised where demonstrated in research. The research gaps to realising a RAS for wing assembly are identified and different approaches are considered.
Technical Paper

Low Cost Reconfigurable Jig Tooling and In-Process Metrology for High Accuracy Prototype Rotorcraft Wing Assembly

2019-09-16
2019-01-1877
Reconfigurable tooling frames consisting of steel box sections and bolted friction clamps offer an opportunity to replace traditional expensive welded steel tooling. This well publicized reconfigurable reusable jig tooling has been investigated for use in the assembly of a prototype compound helicopter wing. Due to the aircraft configuration, the wing design is pinned at both ends and therefore requires a higher degree of end to end accuracy, over the 4m length, than conventional wings. During the investigation some fundamental issues are approached, including: Potential cost savings and variables which effect the business case. Achievable Jig accuracy. Potential sources of instability that may affect accuracy over time. Repeatability of measurements with various features and methods. Typical jig stability over 24hrs including effects of small temperature fluctuations. Deflections that occur due to loading.
Technical Paper

Advanced Assembly Solutions for the Airbus RACER Joined-Wing Configuration

2019-09-16
2019-01-1884
The Rapid And Cost Effective Rotorcraft (RACER) is being developed by Airbus Helicopters (AH) to demonstrate a new Vertical Take-Off and Landing configuration to fill the mobility gap between conventional helicopters and aeroplanes. RACER is a compound rotorcraft featuring wings and multiple rotors. The wing arrangement suggested by AH is defined as a staggered bi-plane joined configuration with an upper and a lower straight wing, either side of the fuselage, connected at their outboard extent to form a triangular structure. The ASTRAL consortium, consisting of the University of Nottingham and GE Aviation Systems, are responsible for the design, manufacture, assembly and testing of the wings. Producing an optimised strategy to assemble a joined-wing configuration for a passenger carrying rotorcraft is challenging and novel. The objective of this work concerns all aspects of assembling the joined-wing structure.
Technical Paper

Optimization of Automated Airframe Assembly Process on Example of A350 S19 Splice Joint

2019-09-16
2019-01-1882
The paper presents the numerical approach to simulation and optimization of A350 S19 splice assembly process. The main goal is to reduce the number of installed temporary fasteners while preventing the gap between parts from opening during drilling stage. The numerical approach includes computation of residual gaps between parts, optimization of fastener pattern and validation of obtained solution on input data generated on the base of available measurements. The problem is solved with ASRP (Assembly Simulation of Riveting Process) software. The described methodology is applied to the optimization of the robotized assembly process for A350 S19 section.
Technical Paper

Simulation of Aircraft Assembly via ASRP Software

2019-09-16
2019-01-1887
ASRP (Assembly Simulation of Riveting Process) software is a special tool for assembly process modelling for large scale airframe parts. On the base of variation simulation, ASRP provides a convenient way to analyze, verify and optimize the arrangement of temporary fasteners. During the assembly of airframe certain criteria on residual gap between parts must be fulfilled. The numerical approach implemented in ASRP allows to evaluate the quality of contact on every stage of assembly process and solve verification and optimization problems for temporary fastener patterns. The paper is devoted to description of several specialized approaches that combine statistical analysis of measured data and numerical simulation using high-performance computing for optimization of fastener patterns, calculation of forces in fasteners needed to close initial gaps, and identification of hazardous areas in junction regions via ASRP software.
Technical Paper

Combination of Experimental and Computational Approaches to A320 Wing Assembly

2017-09-19
2017-01-2085
The paper is devoted to the simulation of A320 wing assembly on the base of numerical experiments carried out with the help of ASRP software. The main goal is to find fasteners’ configuration with minimal number of fastening elements that provides closing of admissible initial gaps. However, for considered junction type initial gap field is not known a priori though it should be provided as input data for computations. In order to resolve this problem the methodology of random initial gap generation based on available results of gap measurements is developed along with algorithms for optimization of fasteners' configuration on generated initial gaps. Presented paper illustrates how this methodology allows optimizing assembly process for A320 wing.
Technical Paper

Demonstration of Transformable Manufacturing Systems through the Evolvable Assembly Systems Project

2019-03-19
2019-01-1363
Evolvable Assembly Systems is a five year UK research council funded project into flexible and reconfigurable manufacturing systems. The principal goal of the research programme has been to define and validate the vision and support architecture, theoretical models, methods and algorithms for Evolvable Assembly Systems as a new platform for open, adaptable, context-aware and cost effective production. The project is now coming to a close; the concepts developed during the project have been implemented on a variety of demonstrators across a number of manufacturing domains including automotive and aerospace assembly. This paper will show the progression of demonstrators and applications as they increase in complexity, specifically focussing on the Future Automated Aerospace Assembly Phase 1 technology demonstrator (FA3D).
Technical Paper

Ranking of Thick Ice Shapes Based on Numerical Simulation for Certification

2019-06-10
2019-01-1944
The objective of this paper is to present a numerical method to rank thick ice shapes for aircraft by comparing the ice accretion effects for different icing scenarios in order to determine the more critical ice shape. This ranking allows limiting the demonstration of the aerodynamic characteristics of the aircraft in iced condition during certification to a reduced number of ice shapes. The usage of this numerical method gives more flexibility to the determination of the critical ice shapes, as it is not dependent of the availability of physical test vehicles and/or facilities. The simulation strategy is built on the Lattice Boltzmann Method (LBM) and is validated based on a representative test case, both in terms of aircraft geometry and ice shapes. Validation against existing experimental results shows the method exhibits an adequate level of reliability for the ranking of thick ice shapes.
Technical Paper

Uncertainty of the Ice Particles Median Mass Diameters Retrieved from the HAIC-HIWC Dataset: A Study of the Influence of the Mass Retrieval Method

2019-06-10
2019-01-1983
In response to the ice crystal icing hazard identified twenty years ago, aviation industry, regulation authorities, and research centers joined forces into the HAIC-HIWC international collaboration launched in 2012. Two flight campaigns were conducted in the high ice water content areas of tropical mesoscale convective systems in order to characterize this environment conducive to ice crystal icing. Statistics on cloud microphysical properties, such as Ice Water Content (IWC) or Mass Median Diameter (MMD), derived from the dataset of in situ measurements are now being used to support icing certification rulemaking and anti-icing systems design (engine and air data probe) activities. This technical paper focuses on methodological aspects of the derivation of MMD. MMD are estimated from PSD and IWC using a multistep process in which the mass retrieval method is a critical step.
Journal Article

Flexible Tooling for Wing Box Rib Clamping and Drilling

2011-10-18
2011-01-2639
Currently the wing box rib assembly process requires the manual location and temporary fixing of components within product specific jig or fixtures for drilling. After drilling and reaming, parts are separated, cleaned, deburred prior to adding sealant, reclaiming and final bolting, but this may significantly increase cost, manufacturing lead-time, reduces flexibility and cannot usually be economically modified for use on other aircraft types. Due to potential increase in demand for the next generation single isle aircraft, existing tooling solutions have to be improved and new technologies have to be developed. This paper describes the development and testing of flexible tooling to provide clamping and support for drilling wing box ribs to mating rib posts within a restricted environment. Results are presented along with a discussion of the problems that may be encountered during clamping trials.
Journal Article

Blind Bolts Developments

2011-10-18
2011-01-2755
There is an ever growing demand for blind fastener in the aerospace industry. This demand is driven not only by the advantages of single sided installation, but also by the potential to fully automate their installation process. Blind fasteners can easily be integrated with innovative end-effectors that combine drilling, installation and inspection systems, enabling the reduction of process cycle times and their associated cost savings. Clearly the advantages of single sided installation are a key benefit, but it cannot be forgotten that currently the mechanical performance of these systems is reduced compared with conventional threaded or swaged parallel shank fasteners. There are other important drawbacks existing around them which could penalise significantly the optimised design and performance of the structures. Specific key characteristics that take into account some of these drawbacks have been established by Airbus which will be referenced in this paper.
Technical Paper

Design of a Reconfigurable Assembly Cell for Multiple Aerostructures

2016-09-27
2016-01-2105
This paper presents novel development of a reconfigurable assembly cell which assembles multiple aerostructure products. Most aerostructure assembly systems are designed to produce one variant only. For multiple variants, each assembly typically has a dedicated assembly cell, despite most assemblies requiring a process of drilling and fastening to similar tolerances. Assembly systems that produce more than one variant do exist but have long changeover or involve extensive retrofitting. Quick assembly of multiple products using one assembly system offers significant cost savings from reductions in capital expenditure and lead time. Recent trends advocate Reconfigurable Assembly Systems (RAS) as a solution; designed to have exactly the functionality necessary to produce a group of similar components. A state-of-the-art review finds significant benefits in deploying RAS for a group of aerostructures variants.
Technical Paper

Variation Aware Assembly Systems for Aircraft Wings

2016-09-27
2016-01-2106
Aircraft manufacturers desire to increase production to keep up with anticipated demand. To achieve this, the aerospace industry requires a significant increase in the manufacturing and assembly performance to reach required output levels. This work therefore introduces the Variation Aware Assembly (VAA) concept and identifies its suitability for implementation into aircraft wing assembly processes. The VAA system concept focuses on achieving assemblies towards the nominal dimensions, as opposed to traditional tooling methods that aim to achieve assemblies anywhere within the tolerance band. It enables control of the variation found in Key Characteristics (KC) that will allow for an increase in the assembly quality and product performance. The concept consists of utilizing metrology data from sources both before and during the assembly process, to precisely position parts using motion controllers.
Technical Paper

How Tools and Process Improved Diagnostic and Prognostic Reaction Time

2015-09-15
2015-01-2589
Modern aircraft, such as A380 or A350 for Airbus, are very well connected in flight to ground stations through wireless communications. For maintenance and operations purpose, the aircraft is programmed to send regularly information such as flight reports based on the BITE messages (Built-In Test Equipment) or standard reports based on the value of physical parameters. Moreover, Airbus is capable of sending requests (called uplinks) to the aircraft to retrieve the value of different parameters in almost real-time. This ability, associated with adequate process, improves significantly the reaction time of the diagnostic and prognostic solutions that Airbus can provide to its customers. Traditionally Health Monitoring is considered useful when the Potential to Functional failure (P-F) interval is greater than one flight cycle.
Technical Paper

Light Weight Aerospace Assembly Fixture

2015-09-15
2015-01-2496
There is the need to strive towards more advanced aircraft with the use of materials such as composites, and a desire to improve efficiency by achieving and maintaining laminar flow over a large proportion of the aircraft wing. Due to the high tolerances required to achieve laminar flow, the manufacturing processes and tooling will have to be revaluated to enable successful manufacture in a production environment. A major influence in achieving the key characteristics and tolerances is the assembly fixture. This paper details the design and manufacture of a carbon fibre based assembly fixture, required for a one-off build of an innovative leading edge wing concept. The fixture has been designed and optimised in order to make it adaptable, reconfigurable, and suitable for lifting as well as being thermally stable whilst maintaining laminar flow tolerances.
Technical Paper

Towards Self-Adaptive Fixturing Systems for Aircraft Wing Assembly

2015-09-15
2015-01-2493
The aim of this work was to develop a new assembly process in conjunction with an adaptive fixturing system to improve the assembly process capability of specific aircraft wing assembly processes. The inherently complex aerospace industry requires a step change in its capability to achieve the production ramp up required to meet the global demand. This paper evaluates the capability of adaptive fixtures to identify their suitability for implementation into aircraft wing manufacturing and assembly. To understand the potential benefits of these fixtures, an examination of the current academic practices and an evaluation of the existing industrial solutions is highlighted. The proposed adaptive assembly process was developed to account for the manufacturing induced dimensional variation that causes significant issues in aircraft wing assembly. To test the effectiveness of the adaptive assembly process, an aircraft wing assembly operation was replicated on a demonstrator test rig.
Technical Paper

Innovative Jet Pump Ice Protection System for A400M

2015-06-15
2015-01-2136
A system has been designed for the A400M wherein engine air intake ice protection is provided by hot air bled from the engine cooled by air from inside the nacelle with a jet pump. Two variants of the system were developed. The first had an active temperature and pressure control downstream of the jet pump, and the second was without temperature control. Maximum temperature was a constraint for the design of the system since the engine air intake is manufactured in aluminum. In addition, several other constraints appeared during the detailed design of the system; the tight space allocation inside the nacelle limited the length of the jet pump, the low temperature provided by the engine bleed in flight idle limited the secondary flow used to cool the engine bleed, and the complex air distribution needed to supply air to the intake areas.
Technical Paper

A350XWB Icing Certification Overview

2015-06-15
2015-01-2111
The intent of this paper is to provide a general overview of the main engineering and test activities conducted in order to support A350XWB Ice and Rain Protection Systems certification. Several means of compliance have been used to demonstrate compliance with applicable Certification Basis (CS 25 at Amendment 8 + CS 25.795 at Amendment 9, FAR 25 up to Amendment 129) and Environmental protection requirements. The EASA Type Certificate for the A350XWB was received the 30th September 2014 after 7 years of development and verification that the design performs as required, with five A350XWB test aircraft accumulating more than 2600 flight test hours and over 600 flights. The flight tests were performed in dry air and measured natural icing conditions to demonstrate the performance of all ice and rain protection systems and to support the compliance demonstration with CS 25.1419 and CS25.21g.
Journal Article

Methodology for Solving Contact Problem during Riveting Process

2011-10-18
2011-01-2582
The paper describes the methodology of contact problem solving that is used in specialized software code aimed at simulation of aircraft assembly process. For considered class of problems it is possible to radically reduce the number of unknowns without loss of accuracy. The results of validation of developed code against physical experiments and commercial FEM codes are also given.
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