JUL 2018


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NEWS 33 7 In a second building or manufacturing area, where final body joinery takes place, rings are brought to an alignment tool (note the robotic transfer jig that has transferred the group of four rings), where robots check for ring alignment and fit, and dispense. 10 After the complete fuselage is moved to the next station, it is installed in a layup machine with headstock and tailstock, and overwound with dry carbon fiber to form the fuselage skin. This image shows the filler material that has been robotically placed within the ring grooves; as the skin covers the grooves, it creates external stringers to stiffen the fuselage structure, says MTorres. The filler can be left intact as insulation or removed after skin cure. 8 This photo shows the demonstrator fuselage rings being aligned and bonded, in this case, manually, but on a similar alignment tool as would be used in the factory concept. 11 This actual photo shows dry fiber placement over the rings, to create the demonstrator's skin. In actual practice, copper mesh for lightning strike protection would be added as well. Following standard caul placement, bagging, infusion and skin cure, a robotic machining station cuts out the door and window openings. 9 Here, a larger alignment tool brings together all the fuselage segments, from nose cone to tail end, to check for fit, apply adhesive and bond the segments to create a complete fuselage structure. 12 At the end of the final body join, automated nondestructive inspection occurs. Following this step, the fuselage is outfitted with its interior and any remaining systems, and is ready for shipment. Factory of the Future?

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