Precision drilling robot

Industrial Robot

ISSN: 0143-991x

Article publication date: 1 August 2000




Hollingum, J. (2000), "Precision drilling robot", Industrial Robot, Vol. 27 No. 4.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2000, MCB UP Limited

Precision drilling robot

Precision drilling robot

Keywords: Robots, Drilling, CAD CAM

Applicant: Boeing Co. (US)Patent number: US6003812Publication date: 21 December 1999Title: Airplane fuselage panel

It is an object of this invention to provide a method of manufacturing large mechanical structures which is independent of traditional hard tooling to determine the placement of the parts relative to one another and the part contour. Another object is to provide a system for manufacturing large mechanical structures that is faster and less expensive than traditional techniques and requires less factory space and is less dependent upon the skill of workers to produce parts within the engineering tolerances specified. These and other objects of the invention are attained in a system using a method that utilizes spatial relationships between key features of detail parts or subassemblies as represented by coordination holes drilled into the parts and subassemblies by accurate numerically controlled machine tools using original numerical part definition records and making the parts and subassemblies intrinsically determinate of the dimensions and contour of the assembly. An airplane fuselage panel includes a sheet with peripheral edges routed while the sheet is held on a fixture, using a routing end effector carried by a precision computer controlled robot that is directed to the routing surfaces using a digital dataset taken directly from digital engineering part definition records. The sheet has coordination holes drilled while on the fixture using a drilling end effector carried by the robot that is directed to drilling locations using the digital dataset taken directly from the digital engineering part definition records to accurately locate the hole positions relative to the peripheral edges. The airplane fuselage panel also includes parts, including stringers, stringer clips and shear ties, each having coordination holes drilled by computer controlled drills at locations that will match with corresponding coordination holes in the sheet, so that the parts will be accurately located in positions called for in the digital engineering part definition records when the coordination holes in the parts and the coordination holes in the sheet are aligned and the parts are riveted to the sheet in the accurately located positions.

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