Original Date: 05/08/1995
Revision Date: 01/18/2007
Best Practice : Drivematics with Large Parts Handling
McDonnell Douglas Aerospace (MDA)-St. Louis helped develop machines required to meet the demands of automatically fastening large metal assemblies. Until 1987, MDA had no requirement for handling large metal assemblies, as its product line consisted of smaller aircraft. After receiving the nose section of the C-17 aircraft to assemble, the company realized the only method of riveting very large parts was manual, and the need to automate the process became critical.
Equipment acquisition consisted of three new, automatic riveters from GEMCOR, New York, and one five-axis positioner, fabricated in house. Two automatic riveters came from Douglas Aircraft Company Long Beach, two five-axis overhead parts positioners and one automatic riveter from Douglas Aircraft Company Columbus, all of which were acquired through an Intercomponent Asset Transfer. These large part positioning systems offer five- axis, semiautomatic capabilities including indexing to the next fastener location and mold line surface normalizing, ensuring drill spindle perpendicularity and fastener flushness. Part clamping on the machine eliminates the need to disassemble and deburr the parts after the drilling operation. The Drivematic equipment can select the proper grip length fastener for any given material thickness. It automatically applies sealant to the drilled hole, and installs consistently flush fasteners, thus eliminating all shaving requirements. Automatic positioning and fastener installation on large parts has resulted in a five-to-one labor savings compared to the old method of manually installed fasteners.
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