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Multifunctional automation system for Fuselage Assembly Line

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - MultiFAL (Multifunctional automation system for Fuselage Assembly Line)

Reporting period: 2020-03-01 to 2021-02-28

The main objective of the MultiFAL project is to design, develop and construct an automated plant system for joining thermoplastic fuselage shells considering three different design use-cases, taking into account the existing assembly plant system at the topic managers’ facility.

Objectives include reducing the commissioning time of automated plant systems up to 20% by the use of virtual commissioning tools, increasing the level of detail for production steps around 25% by implementing interfaces between plant system and production control.

Additionally, usability and re-utilization of automation systems by the development and implementation of standardized interfaces will be enhanced. In the MultiFAL project, lean development approaches will be combined with agile methodologies to develop not only software modules for the simulation but also for the virtual commissioning of the plant system.
MultiFAL tooling design is finished and commissioning activities are planned after the big initial delay. Welding head partners have started their projects so the collaboration in the interfaces definition has confirmed some initial assumptions and caused corrections in other ones.
After updating the welding technology of butt strap integration, the design has been updated to the new requirements and MultiFAL "deck" is ready for purchasing and manufacturing phase.

The deck modules have been sequentially frozen in the 3D design, manufacturing drawings, and bill of materials. For that, it has been also required the re-definition of interfaces with TM environment and existing equipment location.
Continuous stress checks have been performed for every design loop, and manufacturing criteria to reduce cost and assembly efforts have been also considered.

Some additional components connected to Module 3 and provided by partners are not frozen yet: welding heads, Upper Shell structure and Lower Shell cradle. But the interfaces in MultiFAL tooling have been defined, explained and communicated to these partners.
Regarding the inner positioners, they are critical for the welding process so the design and manufacturing of the first prototype have been prioritized. The load test results confirmed the simulations and give the confidence to continue with the proposed solutions.

The welding station is also including the external linear axis, which will drive the end-effectors longitudinally along the fuselage; and the access platforms, which will allow operators to reach the areas where manual tasks are required.

First task to integrate the systems at Topic Manager facility has started, and the PLC infrastructure has been initially defined. It will be discussed with the other partners involved in the MFDD.
MultiFAL will consider process simulation, automation, plant concepts and virtual commissioning technologies in order to bring both an increase in the assembly process performance and a deep understanding of the relevant factors implementing a full size automated plant following a brownfield approach. Different assembly approaches and joining processes for different use-cases will be considered, taking into account the currently existing double-sided and limited accessibility for full fuselage sections. As a result, MultiFAL will also facilitate the adaptability of both the robotic machinery and a central control system.