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Affordable automation for airframe assembly: developing of key enabling technologies
Linköping University, Department of Mechanical Engineering. Linköping University, The Institute of Technology.
2005 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Building aircraft is a challenging field. An aircraft has a life expectancy of 40 years, compared to just 10 years for a car. Given the vibrations of flying at close to Mach one at an altitude of 10,000 meters, these machines must function flawlessly in a tough environment. This demands high quality in the assembly processes. The typical part joining process in the automotive industry is welding, whereas in the aircraft industry, assembly is made through drilling, followed by fastening. The typical tolerances for part location in aircraft assembly, as well as for hole drilling, is +/- 0.2 mm.

This dissertation discusses the use of industrial robots, widely used for welding and pick-and-place operation for automotive industry, in the automation of the aircraft industry, and specifically for the drilling of holes in the assembly process of airframe parts. The dissertation presents how a new drilling technology called orbital drilling is incorporated with and industrial robot. Orbital drilling reduces the cutting forces up to ten times compared to conventional drilling using a spiral cutter.

The robot is also utilized for performing changeovers between different airframe structure types. A novel jointed reconfigurable tooling system called Affordable Reconfigurable Tooling (ART) is presented, which uses the robot to reconfigure flexible fixture modules. The ART system can also be rebuilt, which means that the tool is dismantled and reused for a completely different product family (e.g. wings, fins or fuselage sections). This is made possible through a modular framework, i.e. not welded as with conventional tooling, but rather jointed by screws.

Robots, originally developed for the automotive industry, have an accuracy which is ten times less accurate than that required for aerospace applications. To help meet this limitation in the use of robots in aircraft assembly, an additional metrology system, used in the aircraft industry for calibrating assembly tooling, is integrated into the robot controller. The feedback loop enables the robot to be positioned to ±0.05 mm absolute accuracy. This integration is made possible by existing embedded software packages for the robot and the metrology system.

The processes in the system are programmed in a software package with an intuitive user interface in a 3D-environment, normally used for the offline-programming of robots in automotive industry. The planning is intuitive, and an approach towards a process planning abstraction level is presented where processes are defined directly on the coordinate frames constituting the robot trajectories and manual operations. Tolerance on accuracy requirements are dynamically programmed in the same environment. The metrology system, working online with the robot controller, eliminates most of the calibration work required in traditional robot programming. Changes in the operation planning take less than a minute to run physically with the best tolerance.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Linköping: Linköping University Electronic Press, 2005. , 183 p.
Series
Linköping Studies in Science and Technology. Dissertations, ISSN 0345-7524 ; 953
National Category
Aerospace Engineering
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-73389ISBN: 91-85299-59-6 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:liu-73389DiVA: diva2:471441
Public defence
2005-06-17, Sal C3, Hus C, Campus Valla, Linköping, 10:15 (Swedish)
Opponent
Supervisors
Projects
ADFASTKooFixFlexA
Available from: 2012-01-03 Created: 2012-01-02 Last updated: 2012-11-29Bibliographically approved
List of papers
1. Reconfigurable tooling for airframe assembly: a state-of-the-art review of the related literature and a short presentation of a new tooling concept
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Reconfigurable tooling for airframe assembly: a state-of-the-art review of the related literature and a short presentation of a new tooling concept
2001 (English)Conference paper, Published paper (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

From the early days of aircraft manufacturing Dedicated Tooling has been used in the assembly process to ensure the attainment of assembly tolerances and product quality. Dedicated Tooling clamps the aircraft parts to be assembled into the jig to enable assembly by riveting. However, increased competition in the aircraft industry has driven the need to improve quality while reducing cost and in turn the need for innovative solutions to accomplish this.

In this review paper the possibility of using metrology to increase the position accuracy in robotics will be examined. This is necessary to be able to use robotics in assembly of aircraft parts with the appropriate accuracy. Also, because of the small product volumes in the aircraft industry, the jigs must be flexible in order to assemble more than one structure in each jig. Solving these two problems could be the break through for starting to use robotics in aircraft assembly at a higher rate, and doing so in a cost-effective way.

By then reviewing literature of today's flexible tooling technology in the aircraft industry, the conclusion indicates that there is a gap to fill in aircraft assembly tooling. Modular Tools is one solution where standard aluminium profiles are used to manufacture jigs with some degree of flexibility. Another way is pogo fixturing, which uses sticks to hold airframe parts together in the assembly process. The sticks can only be reconfigured in a limited range, and are not cost-effective. By using Affordable Reconfigurable Tooling, the jigs will not only have greater ability to be reconfigured, but by using robotics for the reconfiguration task as well as for drilling, riveting and other material handling tasks, the system will also be cost effective.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA: University of Michigan, 2001
Keyword
Reconfigurable, Airframe, Assembly, Tooling, Flexibility, Affordable
National Category
Production Engineering, Human Work Science and Ergonomics
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-73297 (URN)
Conference
CIRP 1st International Conference on Agile, Reconfigurable Manufacturing, Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA, 21-22 May
Available from: 2012-01-13 Created: 2012-01-02 Last updated: 2012-11-29Bibliographically approved
2. Reconfigurable aircraft assembly: using industrial robots and new tooling to meet future production scenarios
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Reconfigurable aircraft assembly: using industrial robots and new tooling to meet future production scenarios
2002 (English)In: Proceedings of the 33rd ISR (International Symposium on Robotics), 2002Conference paper, Published paper (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

This paper presents the development of a new concept for aircraft airframe assembly tooling. While conventional aircraft assembly tooling relics on rigid steel frames this novel approach can be re-con figured for different products by the help of an accurate laser tracker guided industrial robot. Through this, aircraft manufacturers can better cope with an increased number of variants and smaller volumes which will increase the already high tooling costs. So far in the project a tooling concept has been conceptually designed and economically evaluated. The early technical results of the concepntal work indicate that the concept will work provided that enough mechanical stiffness can be obtained. The economical analysis shows that despite a much higher investment cost, a reconfigurable tool can be economical if it will replace 4-5 conventional tools. In certain future production scenarios reconfigurable tooling can play a very important role to keep the tooling costs down.

National Category
Engineering and Technology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-85838 (URN)
Conference
33rd International Symposium on Robotics in Stockholm, October 8-10
Available from: 2012-11-29 Created: 2012-11-29 Last updated: 2012-11-29
3. Affordable reconfigurable tooling
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Affordable reconfigurable tooling
2002 (English)Conference paper, Published paper (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

Since the early days of aircraft assembly, welded steel structures called Conventional Tooling has been used for positioning and holding parts in place during assembly. This paper presents a new tooling concept called Affordable Reconfigurable Tooling, where a robot is not only used for drilling and riveting but also for reconfiguring the tool itself. The concept consists of modular units that can either be reconfigured between products of the same family of assembly or rebuilt between product families. The research is part of an ongoing EU-founded aircraft industry project - ADFAST*.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Society of Automotive Engineers, 2002
National Category
Aerospace Engineering
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-73299 (URN)10.4271/2002-01-2645 (DOI)0-7680-1285-6 (ISBN)
Conference
2002 SAE Automated Fastening Conference & Exhibition, 1 October 2002, Chester, United Kingdom
Projects
ADFAST
Available from: 2012-01-13 Created: 2012-01-02 Last updated: 2012-11-29Bibliographically approved
4. Robotic orbital drilling of structures for aerospace applications
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Robotic orbital drilling of structures for aerospace applications
2002 (English)Conference paper, Published paper (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

This paper describes ongoing research into orbital drilling using standard industrial robots. The research is a part of an ongoing EU funded aircraft industry project - ADFAST*. Generally it is difficult to use standard industrial robots to automate drilling in the aerospace industry. The stiffness of the standard robotic device is not sufficient to resist the deflections caused by the cutting forces from the drilling process, therefore it is difficult to achieve the tight hole tolerance requirements. Orbital drilling creates lower axial cutting forces compared to conventional drilling and therefore allows the use of low-cost standard industrial robots for drilling holes within the required hole tolerances. This paper presents results from a study where forces, moments and dislocations produced during orbital- and conventional drilling have been measured.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Chester, United Kingdom: Society of Automotive Engineers, 2002
National Category
Production Engineering, Human Work Science and Ergonomics
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-73377 (URN)10.4271/2002-01-2636 (DOI)
Conference
SAE Automated Fastening Conference & Exhibition, Oktober 1, 2002, Chester, United Kingdom
Available from: 2012-01-13 Created: 2012-01-02 Last updated: 2012-11-29Bibliographically approved
5. 6DOF metrology-integrated robot control
Open this publication in new window or tab >>6DOF metrology-integrated robot control
2003 (English)Conference paper, Published paper (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

This paper describes ongoing research into Metrology-integrated robot control. The research is a part of an ongoing EU funded aircraft industry project – ADFAST*. The ADFAST project tries to implement the use of industrial robots in low-volume production, high-demand-on-accuracy operations and for dynamic force compensation. To detect and compensate deflection in industrial robots during a process, the robot uses a metrology system. The metrology system supervises the tool center point of the robot as it executes its processes. Leica has recently released a new metrology system; the LTD800, which measures distances with laser interferometry and can simultaneously measure orientation of targets, through photogrammetry, using an additional camera on top of the measuring unit. This paper will describe theory and results from tests performed on integrating the LTD800 with the robot.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Montreal, QC, Canada: Society of Automotive Engineers, 2003
Keyword
Aircraft Assembly
National Category
Production Engineering, Human Work Science and Ergonomics Aerospace Engineering
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-73378 (URN)10.4271/2003-01-2961 (DOI)
Conference
Automated Fastening Conference & Exposition, September 8, 2003, Montreal, Canada
Available from: 2012-01-13 Created: 2012-01-02 Last updated: 2012-11-29Bibliographically approved
6. Metrology-integrated industrial robots: calibration, implementation and testing
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Metrology-integrated industrial robots: calibration, implementation and testing
Show others...
2004 (English)In: Proceedings of the 35th ISR (International Symposium on Robotics), 2004Conference paper, Published paper (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

This paper presents integration of a metrology system and an industrial robot. The metrology system consists of a laser tracker that measures the distance to a prism with high accuracy and a camera that through photogrammetry measures the orientation of a reflector. Both laser prism and camera reflector is integrated to a 6D-Reflector that is attached close to the TCP of an industrial robot. Tracker and robot is connected to a PC on a TCP/IP network. The PC takes measurements with the tracker, and thereby compensates the robot to reach high absolute accuracy in the robot positioning (+/-50 μm). The 6D-Reflector has multi-functionality and simplifies calibration procedures. This paper explains the architecture of the system and the methods for calibration.

Keyword
Metrology, laser, photogrammetry, robot, online control, calibration
National Category
Production Engineering, Human Work Science and Ergonomics
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-73380 (URN)
Conference
35th ISR International Symposium on Robotics, 23-26 March, Paris, France
Available from: 2012-01-09 Created: 2012-01-02 Last updated: 2012-11-29Bibliographically approved
7. Low-cost automation for aircraft assembly
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Low-cost automation for aircraft assembly
2004 (English)Conference paper, Published paper (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

In this paper solution for low-cost automation of aircraft assembly is presented. The concept of this development is closely related to "Lean Automation", which in this case concerns the use of modern standard equipment such as standard robots, PC-computers and a newlydeveloped spatial sensor system for prec1s1on measurements of positions. The robot is used to perform reconfiguration of tooling modules that arepossible to be configured/reconfigured in six degrees of freedom. A prototype developed as the result of an EU-project called ADFAST* has been evaluated at Linköping University in Sweden. Technical functionality is reported where the robot manages to configure the flexible tooling modules to a total error bellow 50 μm. This paper presents the resu~s on the portion of the project addressing robot, metrology system and tooling.

National Category
Engineering and Technology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-22547 (URN)10.4271/2004-01-2830 (DOI)1810 (Local ID)1810 (Archive number)1810 (OAI)
Conference
SAE 2004 Aerospace Manufacturing & Automated Fastening Conference & Exhibition, September 21th 2004, St Louis, Missouri, United States
Available from: 2009-10-07 Created: 2009-10-07 Last updated: 2012-11-29
8. Orbital drilling: implementation and evaluation
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Orbital drilling: implementation and evaluation
2004 (English)Conference paper, Published paper (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

This paper deals with issues about Orbital drilling implementation and evaluation. The paper summarizes and includes the so far written papers about Orbital drilling.

National Category
Engineering and Technology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-22549 (URN)10.4271/2004-01-2814 (DOI)1812 (Local ID)1812 (Archive number)1812 (OAI)
Conference
SAE 2004 Aerospace Manufacturing & Automated Fastening Conference & Exhibition, September 21th 2004, St Louis, Missouri, United States
Available from: 2009-10-07 Created: 2009-10-07 Last updated: 2012-11-29

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Citation style
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Output format
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