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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.
Video

Vertical Picture-Frame Wing Jig Structure Design with an Eye to Foundation Loading

2012-03-14
The foundation of many production aircraft assembly facilities is a more dynamic and unpredictable quantity than we would sometimes care to admit. Any tooling structures constructed on these floors, no matter how thoroughly analyzed or well understood, are at the mercy of settling and shifting concrete, which can cause very lengthy and costly periodic re-certification and adjustment procedures. It is with this in mind, then, that we explore the design possibilities for one such structure to be built in Belfast, North Ireland for the assembly of the Shorts C-Series aircraft wings. We evaluate the peak floor pressure, weight, gravity deflection, drilling deflection, and thermal deflection of four promising structures and discover that carefully designed pivot points and tension members can offer significant benefits in some areas.
Journal Article

Utilization of a Vision System to Automate Mobile Machine Tools

2014-09-16
2014-01-2271
In an attempt to be more flexible and cost effective, Aerospace Manufacturers have increasingly chosen to adapt a manufacturing style which borrows heavily from the Automotive industry. To facilitate this change in methodologies a system for locating robots has been developed which utilizes cameras for both locating and guidance of a mobile platform for a robot with drilling and fastening end effector.
Technical Paper

Use of Synchronized Parallel Grippers in Fastener Injection Systems

2015-09-15
2015-01-2515
A new style of rivet injector is in production use on a variety of fastening machines used by major aircraft manufacturers. In this injector the opposing sides of the rivet guide blocks are attached to the arms of a parallel gripper. We have implemented the parallel gripper in both vertical axis and horizontal axis riveting applications. It is equally effective in both orientations. We have implemented the parallel gripper rivet injector on headed rivets, threaded bolts, ribbed swage bolts and unheaded (slug) rivets.
Technical Paper

Unique Material Handling and Automated Metrology Systems Provides Backbone of Accurate Final Assembly Line for Business Jet

2016-09-27
2016-01-2104
Figure 1 Global 7000 Business Jet. Photo credit: Robert Backus. The customer’s assembly philosophy demanded a fully integrated flexible pulse line for their Final Assembly Line (FAL) to assemble their new business jets. Major challenges included devising a new material handling system, developing capable positioners and achieving accurate joins while accommodating two different aircraft variants (requiring a “flexible” system). An additional requirement was that the system be easily relocated to allow for future growth and reorganization. Crane based material handling presents certain collision and handover risks, and also present a logistics challenge as cranes can become overworked. Automated guided vehicles can be used to move large parts such as wings, but the resulting sweep path becomes a major operational limitation. The customer did not like the trade-offs for either of these approaches.
Journal Article

System for Recirculation of Mobile Tooling

2015-09-15
2015-01-2494
Aircraft assembly systems which require tooling or machinery to pulse or move between multiple positions within a factory can be positioned with high repeatability without high performance foundations or sweeping out large areas of floorspace. An example shows a system of large left and right-hand frames which are positioned at 3 sequential manufacturing steps and then recirculated to the start of production via a central return aisle. The frames are 41 ton actual weight and are 72′ long, similar to a rail car. The system achieves rectangular motion for the recirculation path. The supporting and moving system incorporates low-cost rail in a floor with minimal preparation and simple to use controls. The system is also easily reconfigured if the manufacturing system needs to be altered to meet rate or flow requirements.
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

Sharklet Brings New Technology to Electroimpact E4000 LVER Machine

2012-09-10
2012-01-1853
Electroimpact's E4000 LVER riveting machine entered service in 1998 assembling A320/A321 upper wing panels at the Airbus wing manufacturing facility in Broughton, Wales. Airbus's recent introduction of the Sharklet modification to the wings of the A320 family of aircraft necessitated a number of changes to the machine and fixture to accommodate the revised wing geometry. Electroimpact and Airbus also worked together to identify a wide range of machine improvements and updates. A short list of the changes made to the machine includes a new CNC, new motors, scales, spindles, and new technologies such as laser tracers and normality sensors. The end result is a faster, more accurate machine with state-of-the-art controls ready to support Airbus's A320/321 wing panel assembly for the next 15 years.
Technical Paper

Riveting Thin A320 Stacks

2014-09-16
2014-01-2264
The E7000 riveting machine installs NAS1097KE5-5.5 rivets into A320 Section 18 fuselage side panels. For the thinnest stacks where the panel skin is under 2mm (2024) and the stringer is under 2mm (7075), the normal process of riveting will cause deformation of the panel or dimpling. The authors found a solution to this problem by forming the rivet with the upper pressure foot extended, and it has been tested and approved for production.
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

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

Portable 2 Axis Milling Machine for CFRP

2012-09-10
2012-01-1879
As part of a Composite Wing Manufacture Program, Electroimpact was asked to design and develop a small portable milling machine for machining CFRP. The machine needed to be light so it could be lifted by two operators, robust to the production environment, and stiff enough to allow it to cut a 15 mm deep 3/8\mi slot through composite material (CFRP), in one pass, with no delamination. The machine also needed to be capable of performing a 30 mm deep finishing cut, in one pass, with 3 μm or better surface finish. Specialist Polycrystalline Diamond (PDC) roughing cutters were developed for the cutting process to reduce cutting loads and vibration while maximizing cutter life. The machine also needed to be capable of cutting along a 2 axis path. Electroimpact successfully introduced the machine in to the production environment in October 2011, within a 12 month development window.
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

Panel Assembly Line (PAL) for High Production Rates

2015-09-15
2015-01-2492
Developing the most advanced wing panel assembly line for very high production rates required an innovative and integrated solution, relying on the latest technologies in the industry. Looking back at over five decades of commercial aircraft assembly, a clear and singular vision of a fully integrated solution was defined for the new panel production line. The execution was to be focused on co-developing the automation, tooling, material handling and facilities while limiting the number of parties involved. Using the latest technologies in all these areas also required a development plan, which included pre-qualification at all stages of the system development. Planning this large scale project included goals not only for the final solution but for the development and implementation stages as well. The results: Design/build philosophy reduced project time and the number of teams involved. This allowed for easier communication and extended development time well into the project.
Technical Paper

Next Generation Mobile Robotic Drilling and Fastening Systems

2014-09-16
2014-01-2259
Electroimpact has developed a second generation of mobile robots with several improvements over the first generation. The frame has been revised from a welded steel tube to a welded steel plate structure, making the dynamic response of the structure stiffer and reducing load deflections while maintaining the same weight. The deflections of the frame have been optimized to simplify position compensation. The caster mechanism is very compact, offers greater mounting flexibility, and improved maneuverability. The mechanism uses a pneumatic airbag for both lifting and suspension. The robot sled has been improved to offer greater rigidity for the same weight, and dual secondary feedback scales on the vertical axis further improve the rigidity of the overall system. Maintenance access has been improved by rerouting the cable and hose trays, and lowering the electrical cabinet.
Technical Paper

New Jig Mounted Wing Panel Riveters, AERAC 2

2009-11-10
2009-01-3089
Electroimpact revisited a piece of automation history this year. In 1989, Electroimpact delivered its first ever Automated Electromagnetic Riveting and Assembly Cell or A.E.R.A.C. to Textron Aero Structures, now Vought Aircraft Industries. These machines produce upper wing panels for Airbus A330/340 aircraft. They were the precursor to the Low Voltage Electromagnetic Riveters or LVER's producing wing panels for Airbus single isle, A340 and A380 programs in Broughton, Wales, UK. In 2009, Electroimpact delivered two next generation AERAC machines to Vought Aircraft Industries. A significant design challenge was to hold the moving mass for the entire machine under 5220 kg without sacrificing performance of the LVER. These machines employ several new technologies to achieve this including Electroimpact's latest generation rivet injector, an integrated headstone load cell, and GE Fanuc's customer board.
Technical Paper

Mobile Automated Robotic Drilling, Inspection, and Fastening

2013-09-17
2013-01-2338
The versatility of the accurate robot has been increased by coupling it with a mobile platform with vertical axis. The automation can be presented to fixed aircraft components such as wings, fuselage sections, flaps, or other aircraft assemblies requiring accurate drilling, inspection, and fastening. The platform accommodates a tool changer, ride along coupon stand, fastener feed system, and other systems critical for quality automated aircraft assembly. The accurate robot's flexibility is increased by a floor resynchronization system. The indexing system is replaced by an automated two-camera onboard vision system and miniature targets embedded in the factory floor, with accuracy comparable to cup and cone alternatives. The accurate robot can be deployed by casters, curvilinear rail, or air bearings.
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

Lights Out Cell Automatic Tool Change Solution for Nut and Collar Anvils with Integrated Fastener Feed Hardware

2017-09-19
2017-01-2097
Automated collar and nut installation requires complex hardware on the wet side of the spar or wing panel. Wet side automatic tool changers are becoming common but an operator is often required to connect electrical, pneumatic and fastener feed system components. This is unacceptable in a lights-out cell, and any fully automatic solution must be reliable while satisfying demanding design requirements. Figure 1 Wet side anvil for nut installation. The 737 Spar Assembly Line (SAL) is a new lights-out machine cell at the Boeing factory in Renton, Washington. The SAL machines are equipped with a unique fully automatic tool changer (ATC). The wet side ATC interface is designed to automatically connect conventional as well as more unique services such as fastener feed. The fastener feed ATC module, called the “spinner,” rotates with the machine’s wet side rotary axis (C axis). It consists of a stack of rotors that rotate inside of a stationary annulus.
Journal Article

Laser Profilometry For Non-Contact Automated Countersink Diameter Measurement

2014-09-16
2014-01-2255
Automated countersink measurement methods which require contact with the workpiece are susceptible to a loss of accuracy due to cutting debris and lube build-up. This paper demonstrates a non-contact method for countersink diameter measurement on CFRP which eliminates the need for periodic cleaning. Holes are scanned in process using a laser profilometer. Coordinates for points along the countersink edge are processed with a unique filtering algorithm providing a highly repeatable estimate for major and minor diameter.
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