Metrology enhanced tooling for aerospace (META): A live fixturing Wing Box assembly case study

Aerospace manufacturers typically use monolithic steel fixtures to control the form of assemblies; this tooling is very expensive to manufacture, has long lead times and has little ability to accommodate product variation and design changes. Traditionally, the tool setting and recertification process is manual and time consuming, monolithic structures are required in order to maintain the tooling tolerances for multiple years without recertification. As part of a growing requirement to speed up tool-setting procedures this report explores a coupon study of live fixturing; that is, automated: fixture setting, correction and measurement. The study aims to use a measurement instrument to control the position of an actuated tooling flag, the flag will automatically move until the Key Characteristic (KC) of the part/assembly is within tolerance of its nominal position. This paper updates developments with the Metrology Enhanced Tooling for Aerospace (META) Framework which interfaces multiple metrology technologies with the tooling, components, workers and automation. This will allow rapid or even real-time fixture re-certification with improved product verification leading to a reduced risk of product non-conformance and increased fixture utilization while facilitating flexible fixtures.


O C Martin1, J E Muelaner1, Z Wang1,
A Kayani2, D Tomlinson2, P G Maropoulos1, P Helgasson3

1 – Department of Mechanical Engineering, The University of Bath, Bath, UK
2 – Airbus UK
3 – Delfoi

Presented at

Proceedings of DET2011

7th International Conference on Digital Enterprise Technology

Athens, Greece
28-30 September 2011



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