777x Control Surface Assembly Using Advanced Robotic Automation

Paper #:
  • 2017-01-2092

Published:
  • 2017-09-19
Abstract:
Fabrication and assembly of the majority of Boeing 777x control surfaces is completed at the Boeing Defense, Space and Security (BDS) site in St. Louis, MO. The 777X aircraft – The Boeing Company’s flagship airplane – has been revamped to compete with affordability goals and contentious markets requiring cost-effective production technologies with high maturity and reliability. With tens of thousands of fasteners per shipset, the tasks of drilling, countersinking, hole inspection, and temporary fastener installation are automated. Additionally, wherever possible, blueprint fasteners are automatically installed. Initial production is supported by four (4) Electroimpact robotic systems. Commonality amongst the robots was desired to allow each to effectively address any of the commodities which range from small fairings to very large rudders/elevators and leading edge assemblies that required the automation to work its way around from upper to lower surface. Multi-function end effectors enable processes to be completed in one pass from blank to installed fastener. Operator access and part flow through the cell was key, driving the design of a flush floor rail system and the ability to operate robots in dual zones. Advanced safety systems are utilized which include programmable laser scanners on the robots and tooling that are automatically configured based on the present tooling.
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