Bigoney, B. and Huddleston, N., "Automated Riveting of C-130J Aft Fuselage Panels," SAE Technical Paper 2017-01-2075, 2017.
Electroimpact and Lockheed Martin have developed an automated drilling and fastening system for C-130J aft fuselage panels. Numerous design and manufacturing challenges were addressed to incorporate the system into Lockheed Martin’s existing manufacturing paradigm and to adapt Electroimpact’s existing line of riveting machines for manufacture of these legacy aircraft parts. Challenges to automation included design of a very long yet sufficiently rigid and lightweight offset riveting anvil for fastening around deep circumferential frames, automated feeding of very short, “square” rivets in which the length is similar to the head diameter, creation of part programs and simulation models for legacy parts with no existing 3d manufacturing data, and crash protection for the aircraft part from machine collisions, given the uncertainties inherent in the model and the unique geometry of the aircraft parts. Additional challenges were overcome in integrating the system into Lockheed Martin’s existing manufacturing methodology, while avoiding disruption to ongoing production activity and delivery schedules. Innovative and novel solutions to all of these problems were found and implemented. The result is successful automation of the drilling and riveting work on the aft fuselage, with corresponding improvements in manufacturing quality and production cost, and development of new technology that will have application in future automation systems.