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Development of the Next Generation Flexible Tooling System

Larry Kirby, Ronald Weddle
Published 2019-03-19 by SAE International in United States
Flexible Tooling Systems have been developed as a reconfigurable part support system to enable trimming of multiple part geometries utilizing a single router or waterjet. The driver for this development has been improved part quality, elimination of ergonomic issues associated with manually trimming, and the elimination of cost for part number specific hard tooling and the associated cost for manufacturing, maintenance, and storage. This paper will briefly trace the evolution of aerospace parts trimming history. The remainder of the report will focus on the technical objectives associated with the development of the Next Generation Flexible Tooling System, how they were achieved including the process for validation of each support location in aircraft coordinates. This system is designed to increase part holding accuracy with specific support location validation, and significantly reduce system maintenance costs in wet or dry environments.
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