New progress has been made in the research on precise positioning of aviation thin-walled structure robot assembly system

Figure 1. The hand-eye configuration of the vision system and its tolerance chain

Assembly is an important part of the aviation manufacturing process, accounting for about 40%-50% of its total labor, which largely determines the final product quality, manufacturing cost and supply cycle of the aircraft. Mechanical connections based on fasteners such as rivets and bolts are the primary connection method for aircraft assembly, with millions of fastener mounting holes on a large aircraft. Considering high efficiency and flexibility, the researchers developed robotic assembly systems for hole making and joining of aviation thin-walled structures. The nominal model of the robot assembly system and the aviation structure to be processed is the basis for the production of the processing program, but the actual state of both deviates from its nominal model at the assembly site, resulting in the relative positioning error between the two, resulting in a large fastener mounting hole position error and reducing the fatigue life of the aviation structure.

Recently, Yang Yongtai’s research group of Fujian Institute of Material Structure, Chinese Academy of Sciences, developed a robot assembly system positioning accuracy enhancement technology on the basis of the previous research on automatic hole making of aviation structures. The formation of relative positioning error between robot assembly system and aviation structure is analyzed and modeled, the measuring device is introduced to realize the measurement and compensation of relative positioning error, the relative positioning error under different configuration modes of measuring device is compared theoretically from the perspective of tolerance management, and the hand-eye configuration method of vision system is recommended. Based on the positioning error Jackby, the influence of hand-eye bias on positioning accuracy is explored, and the design of end effector and visual coordinate system setting are guided. A method for calibration and system positioning in the machine’s eye is proposed, which eliminates the influence of different absolute positioning errors of robots. In turn, an integrated control system for multifunctional robot assembly systems was developed. This study provides a theoretical basis for the enhancement of positioning accuracy of the hole making and connection system of the aviation structure robot.

The results were recently published in the international academic journal Positioning accuracy enhancement of a robotic assembly system for thin-walled aerostructure assembly. Journal of Industrial Information Integration 2023, 35, 100518), the first author of the paper is Mei Biao, assistant researcher, and the corresponding author is Yang Yongtai, senior engineer. (Source: Fujian Institute of Structure of Matter, Chinese Academy of Sciences)

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