Scafe, A., "Developing Robotic Sealing Processes in Aerospace Manufacturing," SAE Technical Paper 2012-01-1854, 2012, doi:10.4271/2012-01-1854.
Aerospace manufacturing is becoming more competitive and cost reduction is a key factor in building a competitive edge. Robotic technology has advanced tremendously over the past 25 years primarily due to the automotive industry adopting robotic manufacturing disciplines. The aerospace industry is at the threshold of introducing robotic manufacturing in many areas such as drilling, painting, material handling and sealing.We will review several key steps required to introduce robotic sealing technology into the aerospace manufacturing industry. In the first section, we will review the prerequisites for implementing robotic sealing in the aerospace industry. These are: leadership direction, commitment to investment and establishing the multidisciplinary team.In the second section, we will review current sealing processes, application techniques, sealant materials, sealing specifications, manufacturing constraints and production quality systems. The third section will focus on the development phase of robotic sealing. In this section we will discuss the requirements of the sealant material for robotic application methods and pre-implementation development and testing. In addition, we will review robotic sealing tip design. The fourth section will discuss how off- the- shelf technology can be integrated in configuring the robotic sealing system. We will discuss selection of the correct robot, material supply system, dispensing system, temperature conditioning, vision technology, controls and safety equipment. There will also be a review of off-line-programming requirements and the advantages of utilizing this software in aerospace. Next we will discuss the packaging of these technologies into a production system with flexibility and adaptability. We will also discuss the maintenance of operating requirements for a robotic sealing system in aerospace.