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Technical Paper

Low Voltage Electromagnetic Lockbolt Installation

Abstract British Aerospace, Airbus Ltd., Chester, UK manufactures the main wing box assembly for all current Airbus programs. Titanium interference fasteners are used in large numbers throughout these aircraft structures. On the lower wing skin of the A320 alone there are approximately 11,000 of this fastener type. Currently, the majority of these fasteners are manually installed using pneumatic or hydraulic tooling. British Aerospace engineers recognized the significant potential which automation offers to reduce these current labor intensive installation methods. Electroimpact proposed extending Low Voltage Electromagnetic Riveter (LVER) technology to the automatic installation of these interference fasteners as well as rivets. Close liaison between Airbus and Electroimpact engineers resulted in the development of an automated LVER based lockbolt installation system, which is currently undergoing evaluation.
Technical Paper

A Flexible Development System for Automated Aircraft Assembly

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

ASAT4-Enhanced Flexibility for the C-17

The Automated Spar Assembly Tool or ASAT was originally developed for the Boeing 767 wing spar in the late 1970s. Since then this powerful concept has been further advanced and integrated into nearly all the current Boeing commercial wing lines. A fourth generation system, ASAT4, has been developed for the Boeing C-17 Globemaster III. ASAT4 provides an unprecedented level of flexibility in a minimum amount of floor space. Similar to ASAT3, ASAT4 consists of a vertical traveling yoke machine which straddles the spar fixtures. Two fixtures placed end to end form a system approximately 220 feet in length which is serviced by a single machine. This allows manual operations, e.g. load and unload, to be performed on one spar while the machine works in the adjacent cell. Each fixture can accept any of the six C-17 spars. Fixture reconfiguration between spars is completely automatic. The single three axis yoke machine, the E5000, travels the full system length.
Technical Paper

Automated Wing Drilling System for the A380-GRAWDE

On Airbus aircraft, the undercarriage reinforcing is attached through the lower wing skin using bolts up to 1-inch in diameter through as much as a 4-inch stack up. This operation typically takes place in the wing box assembly jigs. Manual hole drilling for these bolts has traditionally required massive drill templates and large positive feed drill motors. In spite of these large tools, the holes must be drilled in multiple steps to reduce the thrust loads, which adds process time. For the new A380, Airbus UK wanted to explore a more efficient method of drilling these large diameter holes. Introducing automated drilling equipment, which is capable of drilling these holes and still allows for the required manual access within the wing box assembly jig, was a significant challenge. To remain cost effective, the equipment must be flexible and mobile, a llowing it to be used on multiple assemblies.