Joining tools used in the assembly of C-17 military transport aircraft are one example. Recently, Boeing began using high-reliability motion controllers and networked servo drives at its Long Beach, CA, production facility to maximize performance of two wing join tools and one major join tool.
Both types of tools are used in airframe assembly. The wing join tool is used to position the two major sections of the aircraft wing and hold them in place while they are permanently assembled to form one massive wing, which is ultimately assembled onto the aircraft. This tool is controlled by a number of jacks holding the wing in place. Wing sections must be positioned for a seamless fit then locked in place so that the mechanical join can be completed.
The major join tool holds together the four major preassembled sections of the aircraft: fuselage, nose, assembled wing and tail. The center section of the aircraft fuselage is placed on top of jacks, then positioned and leveled. The same procedure is done for the aircraft nose, assembled wing and tail section.
Proper joining of these airframe components requires the use of high-precision motion controllers and servo systems, which are supplied by Ormec Systems Corp. Boeing’s Long Beach facility is using more than a dozen ServoWire Motion and Logic Controller (SMLC) motion controllers and nearly 60 ServoWire SD-Series servo drives to control and monitor each join tool.
Available in three-, eight- and 16-axis models, the SMLC controllers combine the benefits of motion control and PLC functions. They offer high-performance computing capability and a real-time operating system. Powered by Intel 32-bit processors, SMLC controllers can be used in multiaxis motion and I/O control applications.
SD servo drives use digital networking technology based on IEEE 1394b (FireWire) and can be interfaced with a SMLC. These servo drives feature high-bandwidth control loops and high-resolution motor feedback that, together, provide quick and accurate torque, velocity and position control without placing a heavy computing burden on the SMLC.
In addition, interface consoles with touch screens provide assemblers maximum control, ease of use and remote pendants for flexibility.
Ormec also supplied Boeing with control systems on the under-wing maintenance tool for the C-17 Globemaster III, which is manufactured at Robins Air Force Base in Houston County, GA.
For more information on motion control products, call 800-656-7632 or visit www.ormec.com.