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Technical Paper

Snake-Arm Robots: A New Approach to Aircraft Assembly

2006-09-12
2006-01-3141
This paper describes work being conducted by OC Robotics and Airbus to develop snake-arm robot technology suitable for conducting automated inspection and assembly tasks within wing boxes. The composite, single skin construction of aircraft structures presents new challenges for robotic assembly. During box close-out it is necessary for aircraft fitters to climb into the wing box through a small access panel and use manual or power tools to perform a variety of tasks. These manual interventions give rise to a number of health and safety concerns. Snake-arm robots provide a means to replace manual procedures by delivering the required tools to all areas of the wing box. The advantages of automating in-wing processes will be discussed. This paper presents early stage results of the demonstration snake-arm robot and outlines expectations for future development.
Technical Paper

Snake-Arm Robots: A New Approach to Aircraft Assembly

2007-09-17
2007-01-3870
This paper describes work being conducted by OC Robotics and Airbus to develop snake-arm robots to conduct assembly tasks within wing boxes - an area currently inaccessible for automation. The composite, single skin construction of aircraft structures presents new assembly challenges. Currently during box close-out it is necessary for aircraft fitters to climb into the wing box through small access panels and use manual or power tools to perform a variety of tasks. In future wing designs it may be that certain parts of the wing do not provide adequate access for manual assembly methods. It is also known that these manual interventions introduce health and safety concerns with their associated costs. Snake-arm robots provide a means to replace manual procedures by delivering the required tools to all areas of the wing box. Such a development has broader implications for aircraft design and assembly.
Technical Paper

Sideways Collar Anvil For Use on A340-600

2005-10-03
2005-01-3300
A new method of installing LGP collars onto titanium lock bolts has been brought into production in the Airbus wing manufacturing facility in Broughton, Wales. The feed system involves transporting the collar down a rectangular cross-sectioned hose, through a rectangular pathway in the machine clamp anvil to the swage die without the use of fingers or grippers. This method allows the reliable feeding the collars without needing to adjust the position of feed fingers or grippers relative to the tool centerline. Also, more than one fastener diameter can be fed through one anvil geometry, requiring only a die change to switch between certain fastener diameters. In our application, offset and straight stringer geometries are accommodated by the same anvil.
Technical Paper

Modular and Configurable Steel Structure for Assembly Fixtures

2010-09-28
2010-01-1873
This paper will present the latest development of a configurable and modular steel construction system for use in frameworks of flexible fixtures of the kind called Affordable Reconfigurable Fixtures (ART). Instead of a dedicated aircraft fixture, which is very time consuming and expensive, the ART fixtures enable affordable construction from a standard component kit, by solving the main drawbacks of traditional tooling. In early 2009 Airbus UK built the first steel modular fixture for the aerospace industry. The project was a partnership with DELFOi and Linköping University in a project called ReFlex, Reconfigurable Flexible Tooling. A paper was presented in the last year SAE conference which explained about the project in overall. The construction system called BoxJoint has recently been tested in some manufacturing areas at Airbus UK and also been applied in the production at Saab Aerospace Linköping Sweden.
Journal Article

Improvement of Planning and Tracking of Technology Maturity Development with Focus on Manufacturing Requirements

2013-09-17
2013-01-2261
This paper details the development of a user-friendly computerised tool created to evaluate the Manufacturing Readiness Levels (MRL) of an emerging technology. The main benefits achieved are to manage technology development planning and tracking, make visually clear and standardised analysis, and improve team communication. The new approach is applied to the Technology Readiness Levels (TRL), currently used by Airbus Research & Technology (R&T) UK. The main focus is on the improvement of the analysis criteria. The first phase of the study was to interpret the manufacturing criteria used by Airbus at TRL 4, including a brief benchmarking review of similar practices in industry and other Airbus' project management tools. All information gathered contributed to the creation of a complete set of criteria.
Technical Paper

Drilling Cost Model

2002-09-30
2002-01-2632
The paper describes a way of generating a cost model, which is aimed to compare different drilling processes. The development of this tool is a part of an ongoing European Union funded aircraft industry project called ADFAST (Automation for Drilling, Fastening, Assembly, Systems Integration, and Tooling). This part of the project involves 4 industrial partners, (Alenia, Airbus Espana SL, Airbus UK and Saab AB), 1 equipment developer (Novator AB) and 1 academic institute (Linkoping University). The model has been created to enable the benefits of an advanced system such as orbital drilling to be quantified. The model is able to generate a cycle time and a cost for the whole drilling process involving equipment, consumables and assembly of varied aircraft structures. The challenge of the task was to develop the ability of modeling a process with a sequence of drilling operations that the model user, in an intuitive way, can select and modify.
Technical Paper

Composite Automatic Wing Drilling Equipment (CAWDE)

2006-09-12
2006-01-3162
A custom 5-axis machine tool is constructed to enable fully automated drilling and slave-bolt insertion of composite and metallic wingbox components for a new military transport aircraft. The machine tool can be transported to serve many assembly jigs within the cell. Several features enhance accuracy, capability, and operator safety.
Technical Paper

Automated Wing Drilling System for the A380-GRAWDE

2003-09-08
2003-01-2940
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.
Technical Paper

An Algorithm for Assembly Centric Design

2002-09-30
2002-01-2634
This paper describes and demonstrates the use of an assembly centric design algorithm as an aid to achieving minimal hard tooling assembly concepts. The algorithm consists of a number of logically ordered design methodologies and also aids the identification of other enabling technologies. Included in the methodologies is an innovative systems analysis tool that enables the comparison of alternative assembly concepts, and the prediction and control of the total assembly error, at the outline stage of the design.
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