Jayaweera, N., Bakker, O., Smith, T., Popov, A. et al., "Flexible Tooling for Wing Box Rib Clamping and Drilling," SAE Int. J. Aerosp. 4(2):1048-1056, 2011, doi:10.4271/2011-01-2639.
Currently the wing box rib assembly process requires the manual location and temporary fixing of components within product specific jig or fixtures for drilling. After drilling and reaming, parts are separated, cleaned, deburred prior to adding sealant, reclaiming and final bolting, but this may significantly increase cost, manufacturing lead-time, reduces flexibility and cannot usually be economically modified for use on other aircraft types. Due to potential increase in demand for the next generation single isle aircraft, existing tooling solutions have to be improved and new technologies have to be developed. This paper describes the development and testing of flexible tooling to provide clamping and support for drilling wing box ribs to mating rib posts within a restricted environment. Results are presented along with a discussion of the problems that may be encountered during clamping trials.