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Flexible Automation Solution for Low Volume Production
ISSN: 0148-7191, e-ISSN: 2688-3627
To be published on March 02, 2021 by SAE International in United States
Event: AeroTech® Digital Summit
Lockheed Martin recently won the contract to manufacture the QueSST (Quiet Supersonic Technology) demonstration aircraft. Normally automation is not financially justified for low volume production. However, using a flexible solution in the form of a Mobile Robot from Electroimpact, automation was able to be used and subsequently repurposed for use on future projects. This led to many benefits during drilling of the main wing skin. No foundation work was required for the machine to function. Temporary targets were able to be located on the floor relative to the tooling. The mobile platform could then be positioned in each drilling station using floor lasers aligned to the robot coordinate frame. A flexible global resyncing system was then employed, allowing the robot to resync on DA holes and transform into the aircraft’s coordinate frame. The custom Multi-Function End Effector employed by the patented Accurate Robot has the ability to resync on holes, clamp on part, drill and countersink, inspect hole quality and install temporary fasteners. This allowed highly accurate and repeatable hole quality and countersink depth. Each hole was then inspected for quality, all while still clamped up. Temporary fasteners could then be inserted and torqued prior to unclamping, ensuring no shifting of the panel/structure interface. Lockheed was able to use existing NC Programming resources to drive the machine, and can continue to create programs internally for use on various future programs.