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Journal Article

Utilizing an In-Process Automatic Tool Change for Drilling and Reaming Large Diameter Holes

A drill/ream cycle is necessary to produce high quality, large diameter holes in carbon-titanium stacks. Manual tool changes and traditional automatic tool changers limit hole-to-hole cycle times and hole quality. An in-process tool changer, mounted directly on the machine head, replaces a cutting tool with a reaming tool while clamp-up is maintained on the aircraft panel. By reducing or eliminating operator intervention, machine-axis moves, and optical resynchronization, an in-process automatic tool changer shortens cycle time, improves hole quality, and increases positional accuracy of holes. Automating this process also reduces risk of harm to the operator and aircraft structure.
Technical Paper

Sideways Collar Anvil For Use on A340-600

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

Determinate Assembly of Tooling Allows Concurrent Design of Airbus Wings and Major Assembly Fixtures

Most new aircraft programs encounter the challenge of balancing the time required for design optimization with product delivery constraints. The high cost and long lead times of traditional tooling makes it difficult for aircraft manufactures to efficiently meet ever-changing market demands. The large size, low relative stiffness and high positional tolerances required for aircraft components drive the requirement for rigid fixed tooling to maintain the precision part relationships over time. Use of today’s advance 3-Dimensional CAD systems coupled with the high accuracy of CNC machines enables the success of the determinate assembly approach for aircraft tooling. This approach provides the aircraft manufacturer significant lead-time reductions while at the same time it supports enhanced system flexibility. Determinate assembly for aircraft tooling has been proven to be high successful for tooling manufacture on large-scale system such as the A380 and A340–600 wing assembly projects.
Technical Paper

Composite Automatic Wing Drilling Equipment (CAWDE)

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.