Jefferson, T., Ratchev, S., and Crossley, R., "Axiomatic Design of a Reconfigurable Assembly System for Primary Wing Structures," SAE Int. J. Aerosp. 7(2):229-240, 2014, doi:10.4271/2014-01-2249.
Aerospace assembly systems comprise a vast array of interrelated elements interacting in a myriad of ways. Consequently, aerospace assembly system design is a deeply complex process that requires a multi-disciplined team of engineers. Recent trends to improve manufacturing agility suggest reconfigurability as a solution to the increasing demand for improved flexibility, time-to-market and overall reduction in non-recurring costs. Yet, adding reconfigurability to assembly systems further increases operational complexity and design complexity. Despite the increase in complexity for reconfigurable assembly, few formal methodologies or frameworks exist specifically to support the design of Reconfigurable Assembly Systems (RAS).This paper presents a novel reconfigurable assembly system design framework (RASDF) that can be applied to wing structure assembly as well as many other RAS design problems. The framework is a holistic, hierarchical approach to system design incorporating reconfigurability principles, Axiomatic Design and Design Structure Matrices. The rationale for the framework is developed from a literature review of case studies, academic research, system design methods and industry requirements. The framework and surrounding discourse is presented in such a way that this paper can be used as a reference guide to design RAS for aerospace structures and for future research into RAS design.