The continued use of composite materials in the aerospace industry has been addressed in several past research projects which have focused on new design solutions and composite manufacturing processes. However an area which has been given much less attention up until now is how to achieve a time and cost effective lean assembly production system. The current airframe assembly process of composites, metals and hybrid structures is affected by an important number of non-added value operations, which strongly cause disruptions and prevents fast ramp-up and high production rates.
LOCOMACHS will focus on significantly reducing or totally eliminating the most time-consuming and hence expensive non-added value operations, e.g. temporary assembly to check gaps, shimming, dismantling and tool handling. The project will improve the design conditions which today strongly dictate the way part manufacture and assembly is performed. Important step changes will be made by dramatically improving the use of tolerance and geometrical variation management.
The project will integrate existing technologies with missing breakthrough technologies developed and matured within LOCOMACHS. To support the industrialisation of future assembly production lines, key innovations such as intelligent drilling, high speed non-contact hole inspection, compact automation and active flexible tooling will be demonstrated.
The design and assembly process improvements and breakthrough technologies will be validated on two physical partial wing box demonstrators, a virtual fuselage section demonstrator and additionally a virtual demonstrator showing a complete wing structure in the context of the next generation lean production flow.
This Level 2 proposal is being submitted in the 5th Call FP7-AAT-2012-RTD-1 against the activity area AAT.2012.4.4-1 “Integrated approach and demonstration to lean manufacturing of metal, composite and hybrid aircraft / engine structures” by a Consortium led by Saab AB.
Call for proposal
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Funding SchemeCP-IP - Large-scale integrating project
BT3 9DZ Belfast
BH23 6EW Christchurch Dorset
431 30 Molndal