Manufacturing and assembly automation by integrated metrology systems for aircraft wing fabrication

J. Jamshidi*, A. Kayani, P. Iravani, P.G. Maropoulos, M.D. Summers

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    Discrepancies of materials, tools, and factory environments, as well as human intervention, make variation an integral part of the manufacturing process of any component. In particular, the assembly of large volume, aerospace parts is an area where significant levels of form and dimensional variation are encountered. Corrective actions can usually be taken to reduce the defects, when the sources and levels of variation are known. For the unknown dimensional and form variations, a tolerancing strategy is typically put in place in order to minimize the effects of production inconsistencies related to geometric dimensions. This generates a challenging problem for the automation of the corresponding manufacturing and assembly processes. Metrology is becoming a major contributor to being able to predict, in real time, the automated assembly problems related to the dimensional variation of parts and assemblies. This is done by continuously measuring dimensions and coordinate points, focusing on the product's key characteristics. In this paper, a number of metrology focused activities for large-volume aerospace products, including their implementation and application in the automation of manufacturing and assembly processes, are reviewed. This is done by using a case study approach within the assembly of large-volume aircraft wing structures.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)25-36
    Number of pages12
    JournalProceedings of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, Part B: Journal of Engineering Manufacture
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - Jan 2010


    • key characteristics
    • large structure assembly
    • large-volume measurement
    • metrology
    • process control
    • simulation


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