Note: My latest part-to-part assembly paper titled Achieving Low Cost and High Quality Aero Structure Assembly through Integrated Digital Metrology Systems was recently presented at the CMS 2013 Conference in Portugal.
Authors: J.E. Muelaner, A. Kayani, O. Martin, and P.G. Maropoulos (University of Bath and Airbus UK)
Proceedings of DET2011, 7th International Conference on Digital Enterprise Technology, 2011. Athens, Greece. p. 11-19
Abstact: Cycle times and production costs remain high in aerospace assembly processes largely due to
extensive reworking within the assembly jig. Other industries replaced these craft based processes
with part-to-part assembly facilitated by interchangeable parts. Due to very demanding interface
tolerances and large flexible components it has not been possible to achieve the required
interchangeability tolerances for most aerospace structures. Measurement assisted assembly
processes can however deliver many of the advantages of part-to-part assembly without requiring
interchangeable parts. This paper reviews assembly concepts such as interface management, oneway
assembly, interchangeability, part-to-part assembly, jigless assembly and determinate
assembly. The relationship between these processes is then detailed and they are organized into a
roadmap leading to part-to-part assembly.