Reconfigurable Flexible Tooling for Aerospace Wing Assembly
Traditionally, in the civil aerospace industry, assembly fixtures are large, bespoke, permanent structures that are costly to both design and manufacture. Additionally, the time to design, manufacture and install a large fixture can be significant with lead times in excess of 24 months. Within Airbus Operations Ltd there is a requirement to reduce non-recurring costs, reduce the time to market and improve the capacity and flexibility of equipment. This means that while the costs and lead times must be reduced, the utilisation of the tooling should be increased. Flexible and reconfigurable fixtures have not yet been deployed within Airbus Operations Ltd due to the assembly sizes and complex component configurations. However, they offer the potential for reducing costs by utilising off the shelf components. Using standard parts and implementing design tools can reduce the design time.