This page contains a Flash digital edition of a book.
Integrating Airframe Automation A new robotic pulse production line developed by KUKA Systems North America (Sterling Heights, MI, and Augsburg, Germany) for the Boeing 777X program aims to speed up production of Boeing’s latest wide-body 777X commercial jetliner. Last September KUKA Systems un- veiled the new robotic riveting system for the 777, called the Fuselage Automated Upright Build (FAUB), that will be the baseline manufacturing process on the twin-aisle 777X aircraft as well as current 777 models. This pulse line uses KUKA robots with special end effectors from a KUKA company, Alema Automation, for performing rivet- ing operations currently done by hand. The robotic line will install up to 60,000 fasteners in the forward and aft sections of the 777 fuselages. “Aerospace manufacturers are improving manufactur-


ing processes and using automation to make the assem- bly process less costly. The less touch labor you have on an assembly, the less it costs to produce,” said Jeff Cam- phous, senior account manager, KUKA Systems Aero- space Group. “We will never automate aircraft assembly in the same ways we do in our automotive business, mainly because of the volumes of production. Specific processes such as drilling and fastening, which is very high volume in aircraft manufacturing, can be automated to reduce cost and improve quality.” The FAUB system, one of the largest projects under- taken by KUKA Systems in the aerospace sector, was preassembled and integrated at KUKA Systems’ Sterling Heights headquarters. The system is undergoing final- phase tests before being installed at a Boeing facility in Anacortes, WA. “The end effectors for this project are the standard Multi-Function End Effector used on most of our robotic drilling and fastening systems,” said Cam- phous. “The unique aspect of this end effector is the ‘Gatling Gun’ service module. This allows us to install multiple modules in the end effector to perform different manufacturing tasks while maintaining clamp-up pres- sure on the structure.


“Some of the most common modules we use are Drilling, Vision, Quality, Insertion, Fastening and Sealant,” Camphous said. Multiple metrology systems are em- ployed in the FAUB system, with KUKA’s metrology part- ner, Variation Reduction Solutions Inc. (VRSI, Plymouth, MI), supplying vision systems and laser trackers. “Sys-


tems are in place to aid in the alignment of the equipment, global positioning of the robots, and local registration of the robot to the product,” Camphous said. “The end result of these metrology components allows us to place holes in a very accurate location. Some of our systems have the capability to position a hole to a true position diameter of 0.007” [0.1778 mm].


Drilling and fastening no longer rank as the top prob- lems of aerospace builders, but they’re still the most requested, Camphous added. “Most systems of aircraft assembly require drilling and fastening. It is also the highest-volume activity when it comes to aircraft structure manufacturing, which in turn, allows for the easiest return on investment,” he said. “Fay and fillet sealing are most likely the next challenge in the industry.”


Mimicking Automotive Making aerospace production faster necessitates some adaptation of best practices used to great ad- vantage by the auto industry. “What’s happening in the aerospace industry, both in the jet engine side and in the aero structure side, is as these aircraft rates go up, the aerospace industry is starting to look at building airplanes like cars,” said Scott Walker, president, Mitsui Seiki USA Inc. (Franklin Lakes, NJ). Using higher-rate production with automation is the key to bringing the aerospace industry closer to automo- tive automation levels, Walker noted. An example is the highly automated machining cells used for producing jet engine turbine blades, blisks or other aircraft components in high volumes. Machine builder Mitsui Seiki supplies its customers with five-axis machining centers for produc- ing precision aerospace components from hard metals including titanium and stainless. Mitsui Seiki’s aerospace customers include Sikorsky Aircraft Corp. (Stratford, CT) and other aircraft builders that use the company’s automated machining systems equipped with large pal- let pools in the Flexible Manufacturing System (FMS) developed by Fastems LLC (West Chester, OH), which frequently partners with Mitsui Seiki in automating aircraft component production.


“If you go into a car plant, you’ll see a block line, you’ll see a transmission line, you’ll see lots of automation, parts coming off one after another,” Walker said. “The just-in-time environment is very critical to automotive, and aerospace has not been like that.” In aerospace produc-


59 — Aerospace & Defense Manufacturing 2015


Page 1  |  Page 2  |  Page 3  |  Page 4  |  Page 5  |  Page 6  |  Page 7  |  Page 8  |  Page 9  |  Page 10  |  Page 11  |  Page 12  |  Page 13  |  Page 14  |  Page 15  |  Page 16  |  Page 17  |  Page 18  |  Page 19  |  Page 20  |  Page 21  |  Page 22  |  Page 23  |  Page 24  |  Page 25  |  Page 26  |  Page 27  |  Page 28  |  Page 29  |  Page 30  |  Page 31  |  Page 32  |  Page 33  |  Page 34  |  Page 35  |  Page 36  |  Page 37  |  Page 38  |  Page 39  |  Page 40  |  Page 41  |  Page 42  |  Page 43  |  Page 44  |  Page 45  |  Page 46  |  Page 47  |  Page 48  |  Page 49  |  Page 50  |  Page 51  |  Page 52  |  Page 53  |  Page 54  |  Page 55  |  Page 56  |  Page 57  |  Page 58  |  Page 59  |  Page 60  |  Page 61  |  Page 62  |  Page 63  |  Page 64  |  Page 65  |  Page 66  |  Page 67  |  Page 68  |  Page 69  |  Page 70  |  Page 71  |  Page 72  |  Page 73  |  Page 74  |  Page 75  |  Page 76  |  Page 77  |  Page 78  |  Page 79  |  Page 80  |  Page 81  |  Page 82  |  Page 83  |  Page 84  |  Page 85  |  Page 86  |  Page 87  |  Page 88  |  Page 89  |  Page 90  |  Page 91  |  Page 92  |  Page 93  |  Page 94  |  Page 95  |  Page 96  |  Page 97  |  Page 98  |  Page 99  |  Page 100  |  Page 101  |  Page 102  |  Page 103  |  Page 104  |  Page 105  |  Page 106  |  Page 107  |  Page 108  |  Page 109  |  Page 110  |  Page 111  |  Page 112  |  Page 113  |  Page 114  |  Page 115  |  Page 116  |  Page 117  |  Page 118  |  Page 119  |  Page 120  |  Page 121  |  Page 122  |  Page 123  |  Page 124  |  Page 125  |  Page 126  |  Page 127  |  Page 128  |  Page 129  |  Page 130  |  Page 131  |  Page 132  |  Page 133  |  Page 134  |  Page 135  |  Page 136  |  Page 137  |  Page 138  |  Page 139  |  Page 140  |  Page 141  |  Page 142  |  Page 143  |  Page 144  |  Page 145  |  Page 146  |  Page 147  |  Page 148  |  Page 149  |  Page 150  |  Page 151  |  Page 152  |  Page 153  |  Page 154  |  Page 155  |  Page 156  |  Page 157  |  Page 158  |  Page 159  |  Page 160  |  Page 161  |  Page 162  |  Page 163  |  Page 164  |  Page 165  |  Page 166  |  Page 167  |  Page 168  |  Page 169  |  Page 170  |  Page 171  |  Page 172  |  Page 173  |  Page 174  |  Page 175  |  Page 176  |  Page 177  |  Page 178  |  Page 179  |  Page 180  |  Page 181  |  Page 182  |  Page 183  |  Page 184  |  Page 185  |  Page 186  |  Page 187  |  Page 188  |  Page 189  |  Page 190  |  Page 191  |  Page 192  |  Page 193  |  Page 194  |  Page 195  |  Page 196  |  Page 197  |  Page 198  |  Page 199  |  Page 200  |  Page 201  |  Page 202  |  Page 203  |  Page 204  |  Page 205  |  Page 206  |  Page 207  |  Page 208  |  Page 209  |  Page 210  |  Page 211  |  Page 212  |  Page 213  |  Page 214  |  Page 215  |  Page 216  |  Page 217  |  Page 218  |  Page 219  |  Page 220  |  Page 221  |  Page 222  |  Page 223  |  Page 224  |  Page 225  |  Page 226  |  Page 227  |  Page 228  |  Page 229  |  Page 230  |  Page 231  |  Page 232  |  Page 233  |  Page 234  |  Page 235  |  Page 236  |  Page 237  |  Page 238  |  Page 239  |  Page 240  |  Page 241  |  Page 242  |  Page 243  |  Page 244  |  Page 245  |  Page 246  |  Page 247  |  Page 248  |  Page 249  |  Page 250  |  Page 251  |  Page 252  |  Page 253  |  Page 254  |  Page 255  |  Page 256  |  Page 257  |  Page 258  |  Page 259  |  Page 260  |  Page 261  |  Page 262  |  Page 263  |  Page 264  |  Page 265  |  Page 266  |  Page 267  |  Page 268  |  Page 269  |  Page 270  |  Page 271  |  Page 272  |  Page 273  |  Page 274  |  Page 275  |  Page 276  |  Page 277  |  Page 278  |  Page 279  |  Page 280  |  Page 281  |  Page 282  |  Page 283  |  Page 284  |  Page 285  |  Page 286  |  Page 287  |  Page 288  |  Page 289  |  Page 290  |  Page 291  |  Page 292  |  Page 293  |  Page 294  |  Page 295  |  Page 296  |  Page 297  |  Page 298  |  Page 299  |  Page 300  |  Page 301  |  Page 302  |  Page 303  |  Page 304  |  Page 305  |  Page 306  |  Page 307  |  Page 308  |  Page 309  |  Page 310  |  Page 311  |  Page 312