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Automatic wing box assembly developments

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A demonstrator cell has been developed at Airbus UK for building large aircraft wing box assemblies by a partnership of six companies partly funded under the UK government's civil aviation research and demonstration (CARAD) programme. The cell has shown the feasibility of assembling the three principle components of a wing box automatically using robotic technology. It includes handling 6m high ribs and placing them between the leading and trailing edge spars and skin wrapping and fastening. Two robot systems were developed for external and internal work, employing a combination of standard robot arms and specials fitted with vision sensing and drilling and fastening tooling. Software tools were used to plan, simulate and programme the cell and also to develop a full scaled-up version of the cell for studying the potential of the systems employed for future applications in production.
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Keywords: Aircraft industry; Assembly; Robots

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: August 1, 2001

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