Automated fixture and robot-aided deburring for light aircraft components
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Bristol Aerospace Limited (BAL), Winnipeg, manufactures a wide range of parts for the Boeing-777 aircraft. Most of these parts have cubic edges and cubic surfaces in order to form a family of non-prismatic parts. These parts vary widely in size, geometry and complexity. BAL requires all the Boeing-777 parts to be deburred, and also, all the part's edges to be rounded uniformly with a radius within 0.02" to 0.04" This is a tedious task which is presently performed manually. It was identified as one of the most appropriate and cost effective applications for robotic machining. The deburring and finishing operations require fixtures that hold the parts while they are processed. The focus of this thesis has two components: automated deburring as well as automated fixturing of the parts to be deburred. The fixture should be flexible enough to accommodate as many parts as possible in order to reduce the otherwise tedious setup time. Also, the fixture should be modular so that the fixture's configuration can be assembled expeditiously for any given fixturable part. The functions of the different modules of the fixture system must also be controlled selectively and efficiently with the help of programmable devices. The thesis focuses on (i) investigating the suitability of the FANUC-S12 robot for the operations mentioned, (ii) evaluating and identifying the required deburring tools to perform the deburring operations, (iii) defining a suitable deburring methodology, and (iv) developing a reconfigurable fixture controlled by programmable devices. The results indicate that automated robotic deburring is feasible and cost effective.