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Automation in Aerospace & Defense (A&D) Manufacturing. Role of cost effective automation as a business strategy to compete in the global marketplace. Curtis A. Richardson Associate Technical Fellow - Automation Spirit AeroSystems, Inc. Why Automate?.

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automation in aerospace defense a d manufacturing

Automation in Aerospace & Defense (A&D) Manufacturing

Role of cost effective automation as a business strategy to compete in the global marketplace

Curtis A. Richardson

Associate Technical Fellow - Automation

Spirit AeroSystems, Inc.

why automate
Why Automate?
  • Increase/stabilize productivity or throughput
  • Reduce/avoid/stabilize cost
  • Improve/stabilize quality
  • Improve safety, ergonomics
  • Regulatory compliance
  • Technology or capability
  • enabler

Traditional 2D Perspective

Monument Automation

Capability

Flexible

Automation

Hand Tools

Nonrecurring Cost

why flexible automation
Why Flexible Automation?
  • Installation, process integration flexibility
  • Cost-effective capacity scalability
  • Minimal lead times

Total 3D Perspective

Capability

Flexibility

Nonrecurring Cost

what s so great about robots
What’s so great about robots?
  • Relatively low capital cost
  • Relatively low installation cost/requirements
  • Process flexibility
  • High degree of repeatability
  • Offline TCP programming capability
  • Range of motion, speed, payload
  • Large network of integration specialists
  • Mass produced
  • Mature infrastructure
traditional vs a d use
*Traditional vs. A & D Use

Traditional Industry Use Characteristics

Typical A & D Use Characteristics

  • High volume, low mix
  • Small parts
  • Single-task oriented
  • Cycle time (per part) measured in seconds/minutes
  • Static cell / tooling configuration
  • Low/no accuracy requirement
  • Maximize robot motion speed
  • Robot motion integral to the process
  • Annual model run changeover
  • Single model/part family focus
  • Teach programming
  • “Set it & Forget it”
  • Low volume, high mix
  • Large parts
  • Multi-task oriented
  • Cycle time (per part) measured in hours/days
  • Mobile cell / flexible fixturing
  • High accuracy required
  • Application-dependent speed
  • End effector function integral to the process
  • No model run changeover
  • Multi-model/part families
  • Offline programming
  • Cognitive interpretation

versus

* “Traditional” markets include automotive, electronics, etc.

traditional vs a d use1
*Traditional vs. A & D Use

Processes

  • Welding: arc, spot, laser
  • Assembly
  • Cutting
  • Grinding/Deburring
  • Dispensing
  • Machine Tending
  • Trimming: routing, waterjet
  • Packaging
  • Palletizing
  • Painting
  • Polishing/Finishing
  • Press/Forming
  • Precision Drilling
  • Fastening/Riveting
  • Non-Destructive Inspection
  • Sealing: fay, fillet, encapsulation
  • Coating: paint, plasma spray
  • Sanding
  • Fiber/Fabric Placement
  • Assembly & Fixturing
  • Peening
  • Friction Stir Joining
  • Precision Routing
  • Machining/Sculpting

Accuracy-critical, high-force, interactive processes

versus

* “Traditional” markets include automotive, electronics, etc.

however there are some issues
However, there are some issues…
  • Robotic automation not designed for most accuracy-critical, high-force, interactive applications
    • Accuracy, stiffness, cognitive capability requires fundamental design changes
    • Perceived as relatively low-volume opportunity by OEMs
    • Deficiencies addressed at system integrator level (customization); unexpectedly high turnkey system cost
    • Diverse landscape of integrators can be confusing
  • 2nd tier measures to improve performance result in cost, reliability issues
  • Myriad safety, process integration inefficiencies
  • Complexity, idiosyncrasies of proprietary controllers
  • Fear of losing jobs to automation
how do we address these issues
How do we address these issues?
  • Use what’s already working…
      • Implement automation where current technology allows
      • Gain familiarity, expertise
  • Establish internal automation infrastructure
      • Skilled trades for programming, operating, maintaining
      • Develop guidelines, standards for automation utilization
      • Implement control, data network architectures
  • Adapt engineering designs, manufacturing processes
      • Design for Automated Manufacturing (DFAM) crucial
      • Greenfield scenarios vs. existing process improvements
how do we address these issues1
How do we address these issues?
  • Collaborate with each other
      • SME Aerospace Automation Consortium
      • SAE Aerospace Manufacturing & Automated Fastening
      • Midwest Robotics Initiatives Council
      • NSF Roadmap for US Robotics
  • Partner with OEMs, integrators, researchers
      • Educating OEMs about process requirements, market potential will lead to new capabilities, designs
      • Some progressive integrators already addressing issues
      • Research institutions provide opportunities for shared resources, short-term results
      • Use collaborative environment to garner government resources