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SAE 2016 Aerospace Manufacturing and Automated Fastening Conference & Exhibition
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Accuracy Analysis and Error Source Identification for Optimization of Robot Based Machining Systems for Aerospace Production

Fraunhofer IFAM-Simon Kothe, Sven Philipp von Stürmer, Hans Christian Schmidt, Christian Boehlmann
Hamburg University of Technology-Jörg Wollnack, Wolfgang Hintze
Published 2016-09-27 by SAE International in United States
Strong market growth, upcoming global competition and the impact of customer-requirements in aerospace industry demand for more productive, flexible and cost-effective machining systems. Industrial robots have already demonstrated their advantages in smart and efficient production in a wide field of applications and industries. However, their use for machining of structural aircraft components is still obstructed by the disadvantage of low absolute accuracy and adverse reaction to process loads. This publication demonstrates and investigates different methods for performance assessment and optimization of robot-based machining systems. For conventional Cartesian CNC machining systems several methods and guidelines for performance assessment and error identification are available. Due to the attributes of a common 6-axis-robot serial kinematics these methods of decoupled and separated analysis fail, especially concerning optimization of the system. One main focus of this paper lies on a new performance assessment strategy that in contrast to conventional methods neither needs a machining process nor an additional measurement system. Nevertheless it can be combined with these methods to provide even better results. By plotting the robots encoder during movement,…
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Unique Material Handling and Automated Metrology Systems Provides Backbone of Accurate Final Assembly Line for Business Jet

Bombardier, Inc.-Kevin Payton-Stewart
Electroimpact Inc-Patrick Brewer
Published 2016-09-27 by SAE International in United States
Figure 1Global 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. A unique conveyance system (ATLAS) based on in-floor rails was developed to offer a solution that provides highly controlled, low risk and accurate moves that allow workers and tools to remain in the assembly area. Positioners were developed, some of which include a driven passive axis…
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Use of an Innovative Modular Gripper System for Flexible Aircraft Assembly Operations

Airbus Operations GmbH-Manila Brandt
Airbus UK-Frank Neuhaus
Published 2016-09-27 by SAE International in United States
The rising demand for civil aircraft leads to the development of flexible and adaptive production systems in aviation industry. Due to economic efficiency, operational accuracy and high performance these manufacturing and assembly systems must be technologically robust and standardized. The current aircraft assembly and its jigs are characterized by a high complexity with poor changeability and low adaptability. In this context, the use of industrial robots and standardized jigs promise highly flexible and accurate complex assembly operations. This paper deals with the flexible and adaptable aircraft assembly based on industrial robots with special end-effectors for shaping operations. By the development and use of lightweight gripper system made of carbon fiber reinforced plastics the required scaling, robustness and stiffness of the whole assembly system can be realized. This work shows the potentials and challenges for using modular, standardized and adaptable productions systems in aviation industry.
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Variation Aware Assembly Systems for Aircraft Wings

University of Nottingham-Dan R.W. Vaughan, Otto J. Bakker, David Branson, Svetan Ratchev
Published 2016-09-27 by SAE International in United States
Aircraft manufacturers desire to increase production to keep up with anticipated demand. To achieve this, the aerospace industry requires a significant increase in the manufacturing and assembly performance to reach required output levels. This work therefore introduces the Variation Aware Assembly (VAA) concept and identifies its suitability for implementation into aircraft wing assembly processes. The VAA system concept focuses on achieving assemblies towards the nominal dimensions, as opposed to traditional tooling methods that aim to achieve assemblies anywhere within the tolerance band. It enables control of the variation found in Key Characteristics (KC) that will allow for an increase in the assembly quality and product performance. The concept consists of utilizing metrology data from sources both before and during the assembly process, to precisely position parts using motion controllers. In this way the assembly fastening operations can be performed optimally and account for manufacturing induced dimensional variations that reduce cycle times in aircraft wing assembly processes. By alleviating the dimensional variation caused by the upstream manufacturing processes and the inaccuracies in the tooling we will…
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Automated Flexible Tooling for Wing Box Assembly: Hexapod Development Study

Chalmers University of Technology-Ilker Erdem
Manufacturing Technology Centre-Ashwin Gomes
Published 2016-09-27 by SAE International in United States
The ability to adapt to rapidly evolving market demands continues to be the one of the key challenges in the automation of assembly processes in the aerospace industry. To meet this challenge, industry and academia have made efforts to automate flexible fixturing. LOCOMACHS (Low Cost Manufacturing and Assembly of Composite and Hybrid Structures) - a European Union funded project with 31 partners - aims to address various aspects of aero-structure assembly with a special attention directed to the development of a new build philosophy along with relevant enabling technologies. This paper aims to present the results on the developed wing box build philosophy and the integration of automated flexible tooling solutions into the assembly process. The developed solution constitutes the use of synchronized hexapods for the assembly of front spar to upper cover whereas another hexapod was developed to install a rib by using of a force feedback sensor. Both hexapod applications have undergone parametrized mechanical design to provide adaptability to various applications. Furthermore, synchronous control of multiple hexapods has been developed to manipulate and…
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High Speed Fastener Inspection

Electroimpact Inc.-Ryan Haldimann
Published 2016-09-27 by SAE International in United States
Inspection of fasteners prior to installation is critical to the quality of aerospace parts. Fasteners must be inspected for length/grip and diameter at a minimum. Inspecting the fasteners mechanically just prior to insertion can cause additional cycle time loss if inspection cannot be performed at the same time as other operations. To decrease fastener inspection times and to ensure fastener cartridges contain the expected fastener a system was devised to measure the fastener as it travels down the fastener feed tube. This process could be adapted to inspection of fasteners being fed to the process head of a running machine eliminating the mechanical inspection requirement and thus decreasing cycle time.
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Automated FML Manufacturing for Aircraft Fuselages

SAE International Journal of Aerospace

Premium AEROTEC GmbH-Hilmar Apmann
  • Journal Article
  • 2016-01-2112
Published 2016-09-27 by SAE International in United States
As a new material FML, made by aluminum foils and Glasfiber-Prepreg, is a real alternative to common materials for fuselages of aircrafts like monolithic aluminum or CFRP. Since experiences within A380 this material has some really good advantages and develops to the status as alternative to aluminum and composite structures.To become FML as a real alternative to aluminum and carbon structures there are many things to improve: design, material, costs and process chain. So following one of the main goals for an industrial application for high production rates of aircrafts is the automation of production processes inside the process chain for FML-parts like skins and panels for fuselages. To reach this goal for high production rates first steps of automation inside this new process chain have been developed in the last two years. Main steps is the automated lay-up of metallic foils and Glasfiber-Prepreg. Over this there are some more steps within positioning of i.e. stringers and doublers by automatic integration and also in parallel shorter process chain to reduce process cost significantly.Different concepts and…
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FRAC (Frame Riveter Assembly Cell)

Broetje-Automation GmbH-Alexander Janssen, Thorsten Dillhoefer
Published 2016-09-27 by SAE International in United States
The industry wide requirement of new highly flexible automated fastening systems in aircraft production has created the need for developing new fastening systems.This paper will focus on the development of the Frame Riveting Assembly Cell (FRAC) by BROETJE-Automation to meet this need.The new FRAC machine configuration is built for automated drilling and fastening of different aircraft type parts. It is highly flexible with a high speed positioning system mounted multifunction end effector. System travel is limited only by installed track length. The FRAC integrates well with conventional and reconfigurable automated fastening work holding tools.
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STAXX 50K - Standards for Carbon Composites Production Technology

BA Composites GmbH-Matthias Meyer
Published 2016-09-27 by SAE International in United States
Carbon composites have been on an odyssey within the past 15 years. Starting on the highest expectations regarding the performance, reality was hitting a lot of programs hard. Carbon composites were introduced on a very high technical level and industry has shown of being capable to handle those processes in general. In particular, production never sleeps and processes undergo a continuous change. Within these changes costs remain the most critical driver. As products are improving during their lifetime, they usually increase the degree of complexity, too. According to the normal cost improvement, this has drastic consequences for production. When setting up the first generation of composite production, the part being produced has been in the centre of attention. At a first glance this was the correct approach, but at a second one, it initiated up a huge number of variations in production processes, as in composite production the material and the part have to be built at the same time. This phenomenon especially occurs in the production of small, monolithic parts, where prepreg technology, hand…
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Evaluation of Control Methods for Thermal Roll Forming of Aerospace Composite Materials.

SAE International Journal of Aerospace

Airbus UK-Harvey Brookes, Jon Wright
University of Nottingham-Patrick Land, Luis De Sousa, Svetan Ratchev, David Branson
  • Journal Article
  • 2016-01-2118
Published 2016-09-27 by SAE International in United States
With increased demand for composite materials in the aerospace sector there is a requirement for the development of manufacturing processes that enable larger and more complex geometries, whilst ensuring that the functionality and specific properties of the component are maintained. To achieve this, methods such as thermal roll forming are being considered. This method is relatively new to composite forming in the aerospace field, and as such there are currently issues with the formation of part defects during manufacture. Previous work has shown that precise control of the force applied to the composite surface during forming has the potential to prevent the formation of wrinkle defects. In this paper the development of various control strategies that can robustly adapt to different complex geometries are presented and compared within simulated and small scale experimental environments, on varying surface profiles. Results have found that traditional PID control can be utilized, although its robustness under varying conditions reduces performance in situations that are far from the tuned scenario. This causes the PID controller to struggle with geometries containing…
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