Motion Platforms

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At Brown Aerospace, we emphasize light, flexible automation. Heavy machinery has been replaced by scalable, modular, interchangeable end effectors that can work with myriad motion platforms. In the morning a drill head might be used on an area of fuselage and in the afternoon transferred to a wing.

Controls Engineering

We create customized, application-specific software for all of our HMI systems. This provides the user with critical feedback to ensure production operations flow smoothly.

Our integrated systems can receive data directly from CAD systems via offline programming modules, which generate the inverse kinematics required to drive the machine locations and vectors.

Tooling + Automation
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Brown Aerospace has led a clear industry trend blurring the lines between 'automation' and 'tooling'. The resulting mechatronic advanced manufacturing systems drive down the costs and risks of aerostructure manufacturing and assembly. Our tooling designers and integration engineers collaborate under the same roof, augmenting a state of the art design process, to deliver the lowest risk and highest value solutions in the aerospace industry. Today, multi-purpose end effectors utilize the assembly jig or holding fixture to access the part and augment the work of skilled operators.

 

Merging automation and tooling supports assembly of high-rate, large aerostructures as well as small or low-rate lines. It can be used to retrofit an existing line with automation, commission new lines, or to meet rate increases. Ascent has retrofitted existing wing assembly jigs, large and small, with automated drilling and countersinking. And we have developed fuselage fastening systems for new programs.

Arc Frame

Ascent developed a patent-pending arc-frame system to automate drilling which requires near-circumferential access for the end effector, coupled with a long X-axis travel. Originally designed for spars, this innovative architecture has since been applied to drilling and fastening of several other parts, reaching as large as a fuselage.

Portable Drilling Center

A Portable Drilling Center is a frame-based machine operated by hand held controller or a vision control system. Light weight, portable and requiring only 110 V power supply, our portable driller can be easily deployed and re deployed with minimal setup and no programming. The gross angle can be adjusted to fit various aircraft orientations.

 

Portable Drilling Centers find a fastener head, pilot hole, or ink dot and auto-normalize to the surface and that marker. After drilling and countersinking at that location, PDCs auto-seek the next marker to drill by searching in an operator-specified direction.

Curved Rail

Merging automation and tooling supports assembly of large aerostructures well. This curved rail carries two drilling heads which are programmed and operated simultaneously, each equipped with an automated tool changer.

 

Ascent developed the curved rail for lateral panel fuselage drilling and assembly systems, in support of a large commercial transport; several have been delivered to date. Fuselage panels are assembled in a jig and an Automatically Guided Vehicle (AGV) moves several hundred feet along several fuselage panels. Each end effector drills, applies sealant, and inserts fasteners in composite-composite and composite-aluminum stacks to fasten the composite fuselage skin to the door supports, stringers, longerons, and frames.

 

Multi-Function Gantry
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When a standard gantry provides efficient and effective access to the part, these systems drill, countersink, deburr, inspect and fasten – all the functions available with other motion platform geometries.

Motor-Controlled Rotational Jigs

A motor-controlled rotational jig can be designed to accept custom tooling and rotate the engineering part for an ergonomic assembly build-up, while reducing or eliminating the need for overhead cranes. As the line progresses, the assembly remains in the jig, which can be supplied with casters and/or air bearings. Ascent can undertake the tool design and build for the assembly jigs in order to provide a seamless integration between manual and automated processes.

 

Ascent has combined the rotational jig with the arc-frame drilling system to provide complete-circumferential access to the part undergoing automated drilling.

AGVs and Robotics

Ascent partners with AGV and robotics manufacturers to complement our suite of multifunctional end effectors. An AGV can be paired with a motion platform, such as the curved rail, to move the drilling system from station to station or along a panel.

 

Visit the dedicated page for more information about our robotic systems.