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Affordable reconfigurable assembly tooling: an aircraft development and manufacturing perspective
Linköping University, Department of Mechanical Engineering. Linköping University, The Institute of Technology.
2002 (English)Licentiate thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Industry has changed in recent years. Increased globalization has led to a situation where few manufacturers build their own complete products "in-house". This situation is no different in the aerospace industry. In fact, aircraft manufacturers who build their complete aircraft in­ house are uncommon today. Aircraft manufacturers have, more and more, become specialists in limited areas of development and manufacturing. As specialists, aircraft manufacturers have focused on a narrow field of product categories. It would be a great advantage if these manufacturers had an assembly system that could produce several kinds of product categories using the same production equipment, instead of having one dedicated piece of equipment for each assembly.

Today, the most common solution for aircraft assembly is Conventional Tooling (CT). CT is based on the same principles used during the early days of aircraft assembly tooling. The main principle of CT is that the fixture/tool is fabricated according to the shape of the workpiece, and that every assembly to be built requires its own unique tool. The problem with this type of tooling, however, is that developing one tool for each assembly is expensive and takes up a lot of storage space.

The next generation of aircraft will be more advanced than their predecessors as world-class aircraft manufacturer employ the newest technologies in every new aircraft they manufacture. Building an advanced product like an aircraft involves continuous changes, both in the development of new aircraft and in the development of manufacturing technologies for the serial manufacture of aircraft. One of the main challenges for tomorrow' s aircraft industry will be to develop assembly systems that can manage changes within one product. Aircraft manufacturers would also benefit from using the same flexible assembly equipment for many product types, since product volumes in the aircraft industry are much smaller than in other industries.

This thesis presents the theory of Conventional Tooling and its advantages and limitations, as well as new solutions. Given the advantages from both Conventional Tooling and the new tooling methods, together with general aircraft assembly requirements, a synthesizes has been made which has resulted in a new concept called Affordable Reconfigurable (Assembly) Tooling (ART). ART is based on using a robot to reconfigure the moveable fixturing units, called Dynamic Modules. The Dynamic Modules can also be detached from the Static Framework and attached again in a new configuration. Reconfiguration enables the ART concept to make changeovers between product types within a product family, and modularity enables the tool to be rebuilt between product families. The conclusion of this thesis is that if the enabling technologies work, i.e. if the technical solutions for ART are feasible, then the ART concept could represent a promising solution for manufacturers striving to meet future requirements for aircraft manufacturing in a turbulent globalized marketplace.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Linköping: Linköpings universitet , 2002. , p. 67
Series
Linköping Studies in Science and Technology. Thesis, ISSN 0280-7971 ; 980
National Category
Engineering and Technology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-146009Local ID: LiU-TEK-LIC:2002:53ISBN: 9173734608 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:liu-146009DiVA, id: diva2:1193466
Available from: 2018-03-27 Created: 2018-03-27 Last updated: 2018-10-25Bibliographically approved

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Kihlman, Henrik

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Citation style
  • apa
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