EC research project for lean airframe assembly systems

Saab is leading and playing an essential part in the EC project LOCOMACHS, aimed at achieving time- and cost-effective processes in lean airframe assembly systems.

Anders Rydbom, Head of Engineering at the aerostructures unit at Saab Aeronautics, says:
“For Saab, this project is an important initiative to develop more cost efficient methods for the airframe assembly of composite and metallic parts.
Our aim in the project is to find flexible tooling systems and innovative solutions for the joining process. Tolerance management and Design-for-Manufacturing methods are also important parts of the work.”

 

 
Anders Rydbom, Head of Engineering at the aerostructures unit at Saab Aeronautics    

The object of the LOCOMACHS project is to eliminate the most time-consuming non-added value operations in airframe assembly systems, e.g. temporary assembly to check gaps, shimming, dismantling and tool handling. The project will work on the design conditions, for example by improving the use of tolerance and geometrical variation management.

Physical and virtual demonstrators
Two partial physical wing box demonstrators will be used to show the improvements made by the project. Key innovations such as intelligent drilling, high speed non-contact hole inspection, compact automation and active flexible tooling will be demonstrated. Additionally,  a virtual demonstrator showing the complete wing structure in the context of the next generation lean production flow. will be used.

The LOCOMACHS project started in September 2012 and will last for 3 ½ years with a total budget of EUR 32.8 m, including EUR 19.6 m of EC funding. The Consortium is being led by Saab AB and consists of partners from the aircraft industry as well as universities and research institutes. These include, among others, Airbus, GKN Aerospace, Volvo Aero (being a part of GKN Aerospace as of October 2012), Dassault Aviation, Bombardier, EADS Innovation Works, DLR, Linköping University, Chalmers University of Technology and KTH Royal Institute of Technology.

 
Participants of the EC project LOCOMACHS study the assembly process of an aileron for A320 during a visit at Saab Aeronautics as a part of the kick-off of the project.