Mueller, R., Vette, M., Ginschel, A., and Mailahn, O., "Innovative Production Technologies for Large Components," SAE Technical Paper 2014-01-2237, 2014, doi:10.4271/2014-01-2237.
The global competition challenges aircraft manufacturers in high wage countries. The assembly of large components happens manually in fixed position assembly. Especially the completion of the inner fuselage structure is done 100% manually. The shells have to be joined with rivets and several hundred clips have to be assembled to connect the shell to the frames. The poise of the worker is not ergonomic so a lot of physical stress is added to the worker and minimizes the working ability. Aircraft manufacturers need a lot of different production resources and qualified persons for the production, which provokes higher costs. Due to these high costs there is a demand for automated reconfigurable assembly systems, which offer a high flexibility and lower manufacturing costs. The research project “IProGro” deals with this challenge and develops innovative production systems for large parts. On one hand the flexibility is reached by a reconfigurable fixture for the components on the other hand it is achieved by assistance systems, which guide staff during assembly processes. Adhesive bonding serves as a demonstration case. It takes into account the specific requirements of fiber reinforced plastics and is easy to automate. A lightweight robot performs surface activation with atmospheric plasma and enables human-robot-collaboration. Projection lasers indicate the assembly site for the worker. An inspection system uses active thermography to control the quality of the adhesive bonding. All components are implemented and tested within a demonstration environment.