Horizon 2020 – Clean Sky 2 – ACCLAIM: The Way to a Future Aircraft Factory
The EU ACCLAIM
project – A
abin and C
nd Hatrack I
ethod – is part of the European Clean Sky 2 activities of the Fraunhofer Institute for Manufacturing Technology and Advanced Materials IFAM. ACCLAIM is supported by three CfP (Call for Proposal) consortia with Fraunhofer IFAM as a topic manager. These consortia are EURECA
, and SIMFAL
Clean Sky 2 is the largest ever European aeronautics research programme. It is developing innovative, cutting-edge technology for ecologically efficient aircraft of the future. Funded by the EU’s Horizon 2020 programme, Clean Sky contributes to the strengthening of European aero-industry collaboration, global leadership, and competitiveness. Internationally growing flight and passenger numbers have led to a request for higher productivity and more flexible manufacturing solutions.
Automated Technologies for Aircraft Cabin and Cargo Assembly – Instead of Manual Work
The overall aim of the Fraunhofer IFAM activities in Clean Sky 2 is to develop a Future Aircraft Factory. This Future Aircraft Factory requires automated technologies. In order to achieve Technology Readiness Level (TRL) 6 and a disruptive technology for cabin architecture, manufacturability need to be regarded as important criteria in the validation process. Therefore the objective is to develop specific technology building blocks for automated aircraft cabin and cargo assembly. These installation processes are still mainly carried out manually, which is also true for supporting activities such as logistics.
Many of these activities are performed under non-ergonomic conditions and the process chains are very complex and insufficiently transparent. Using the capabilities of the latest generation of robots, sensors, and control units it is already possible to automatically assemble a great number of parts in the cabin and cargo areas. In the near future the automation capabilities will further increase. The design of the interior parts and joining elements must be suitable for automated processing.
ACCLAIM – Aims of the Project Work
- The automation of logistics processes, delivery of aircraft parts (e.g. to the assembly stations), coexistence of human and mobile robots during installation, and fully automated processes for part, system, cabin, and cargo assembly.
- Optimization of process chains and transparency of the assembly status at all times.
- Overcoming challenges such as the need for mobile autonomous automation systems suitably for aircraft doors and the limited access inside the aircraft.
- The automated systems must be very versatile and be able to perform different operations at different locations in order to minimize the number of specialized systems and to achieve a high utilization rate.
- Another issue to be addressed is the weight limitation inside the fuselage, for example on the cabin or cargo floor, which restricts the choice of automated systems that are able to work inside the aircraft.
Such automated systems will bring radical improvement with regard to lead times, recurring costs, versatility, and transparency.