Broetje-Automation demonstrates fully automatic installation of ErgoTech® single-sided fasteners on PowerRACe robotic system
For the production of each aircraft several hundred thousands of fasteners have to be installed. While mostly rivets that require a double-sided installation are used, single-sided fasteners have also become more and more popular in the industry. They are used to assemble primary and secondary aircraft structures especially in locations with limited accessibility.
In collaboration with Howmet Fastening Systems, Broetje-Automation now has successfully demonstrated how single-sided fasteners can be integrated in a fully automated drilling and riveting process. In the permanently installed test cell at Broetje’s headquarter in Northern Germany the PowerRACe – a specifically for the requirements of aerospace applications designed robot – was used to perform the tests with the Ergo-Tech® singled-sided blind bolt from Howmet Fastening Systems.
The fastening process includes fully automated drilling, fastener feed and installation and demonstrated very low cycle times utilizing a multifunctional end-effector realizing the entire process. The results not only showed a speedy process but also highest maturity and stability of the process and therefore perfectly met the requirements.
The technical team used an existing and qualified “clean drilling” process for closed boxes that requires no disassembly for swarf removal and therefore allows a fully automated process. The pin disposal is assured by a vacuum system through an integrated channel within the system. The additional cycle time for the fastener installation is less than 10 seconds. Multiple fastener diameters from -05/32° up to -5/16° are available.
The Ergo-Tech® blind bolt is designed for both metallic and composite structures. It is available with shear and tension, flush and protruding head styles. The corebolt breaks flush with the top of the sleeve in all grip conditions. The one-piece sleeve configuration and no threads in bearing result in superior structural integrity and high-retained clamp-up. Lightweight ergonomic tools are available to install the system. The Ergo-Tech® blind fastener is also ideal for robotic installation.
The Broetje-Automation PowerRACe (Robot Assembly Cell) is a highly flexible robotic system specifically designed for the needs of the aerospace industry. It functions as an automated positioning system to perform multiple processes in one machine such as drilling, riveting, milling and other high precision, high-force applications. Components such as wing box, stabilizers, fuselage etc. can be automatically drilled and riveted by the mobile robot. The systems is highly standardized and relies on proven technologies with long term spare part availability. With up to 50% reduced drill times and 40% higher overall performance, the PowerRACe is the ideal system to automate complex industrial manufacturing processes - suitable even on lower rate programs.
Head of Communication and Marketing
Howmet Fastening Systems