Brooksiek, M. and Bunke, J., "Automated Horizontal Tail Plane Assembly Environment," SAE Technical Paper 2012-01-1891, 2012, doi:10.4271/2012-01-1891.
Cost reduction efforts are driving aircraft manufactures to new assembly methods and strategic sourcing approaches. Global challenges, international competitors as well as increasing wages and salaries are leading to higher automation levels.ThyssenKrupp started researching new harmonized solutions for wing box, center wing box, vertical tail plane and horizontal tail plane that in 2007. The first step was to research the available technologies and to define how they can be used together to attend the new requirements of the aircraft industry. In 2009 ThyssenKrupp got the opportunity to apply the achieved results in a real application.One of the major challenges was to decide on the main premises for the assembly concept. Business case studies showed reasonable automation approaches; early investigations for health and safety topics showed up potential issues and detailed 3D concepts gave reliable results during the preliminary design review.The outcome is an automated environment for HTP joining and outfitting activities.The HTP joining area mainly consists of servo-controlled positioning systems with laser-tracker metrology systems and automated drilling machines (column-type). The pulse line mainly consists of servo-controlled assembly stations as well as ergonomic platform systems.The result is a state-of-the-art assembly environment, managed by ThyssenKrupp System Engineering and in cooperation with suppliers.