A future need for aircraft structures is the development towards an increased degree of integration to save weight and to reduce manufacturing costs. An actual target is the reduction of assembly cost (riveting process) by laser welding (e.g. fuselage) or integral machining (e.g. wing structures).
For such new concepts the current manufacturing chain has to be altered, unifying the forming steps and shifting this new step further towards the end. This enables more processing (e.g. machning, pocketing, welding) in a flat condition to achieve the full cost reduction potential. With this approach, laser based forming processes offer huge economic potentials due to high automation possibilities and avoidance of heavy, large and costly forming tools, required for each of the numerous differently shaped parts of current cold and hot forming processes.
The main project target is the development of such laser forming processes for integral fuselage and wing structures. Thus relevant laser parameters with respect to minimum material degradation on one side and maximum formable sheet thickness on the other side will be evaluated. This system will include online 3D shape measurement to enable straight-line laser forming to the required final geometry.
The main innovation of the project is the combination of the simulation, the control system and the online 3D shape measurement to a tool offering a self correcting, reliable, quick, robust and thus economic laser forming process for Al based structures.
Following measurable objectives are envisaged:
* Forming stiffened structures to single curvature of 1250 to 3000 mm radii along stiffeners
* Forming bi-axially curved structures with additional 10000 mm radius across stiffeners
* Verification of estimated shell manufacturing cost reduction of 10% by more processing in a flat condition and a further 10% by avoidance of heavy and complex tooling
* Shell weight reduction of 10% with new alloys
Call for proposal
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Funding SchemeSTREP - Specific Targeted Research Project
Pomigliano D'arco (Na)