This patent application is assigned to
The following quote was obtained by the news editors from the background information supplied by the inventors: "In the fabrication of mechanical structures such as aircraft, it may be necessary to introduce fillers between interfacing surfaces of the component parts to assure proper and safe structure. Fillers (also known as shims) are pieces of metallic or non-metallic materials which are placed in gaps between the component parts to compensate for dimensional variations or tolerance buildup between the parts. In the aircraft industry, fillers may be used in fitting and joining major structural sections to one another and throughout substructures as they are built-up into a full aircraft structure. The use of fillers may compensate for dimensional variation between parts or bring parts into proper alignment.
"A conventional method of defining and producing custom fillers may include measuring gaps between parts using feeler gauges, capacitive gap measuring instrumentation or computer/laser based scanning measurement systems. The gap measurement data may be documented and delivered via entry into a series of software capabilities which process the gap measurements, updated digital definitions of the fillers and generates portable Machine Control Data (MCD). The MCD is downloaded to a central server which delivers the MCD to a Computer Numerical Control (CNC) controlled machine tool. The CNC machine tool machines the filler using cutting tool configurations which are specific to the filler and its material being manufactured. Following the machining of the filler on its surface and profile, it is de-burred and the filler marked with its identification to facilitate its installation in the structure.
"In previous applications, the conventional filler definition and elements of the production process may be paper-based. In some production schemes, however, the full design definition of the structure which is being fabricated may be digitally defined and electronically stored and processed in a CAD/CAM system such as CATIA V5 and Enovia. For large-scale production of aircraft, the design definition of an aircraft may be defined by engineers from many companies which design various sections of the aircraft. That digital definition establishes and maintains the full definition of all components in their spatial relationship--in aircraft coordinates. The fabricated aircraft sections undergo final assembly at an aircraft assembly plant.
"In current aircraft production schemes, an automated process of defining, producing and tracking the status of custom fillers on demand for immediate installation on an inline flow production line when the full design definition of a structure resides in a CAD/CAM system is required."
In addition to the background information obtained for this patent application, VerticalNews journalists also obtained the inventors' summary information for this patent application: "The disclosure is generally directed to an automated filler production method. The automated filler production method is suitable for defining, producing and tracking the status of custom fillers on demand for immediate installation on an inline flow production line when the full design definition of a structure resides in a CAD/CAM system. An illustrative embodiment of the method includes obtaining gap measurement data by measuring a gap between component parts of a structure, delivering the gap measurement data to a data collector function, updating the CAD solid model of the filler (in its relationship in the structure) using the gap measurement data, creating portable Machine Control Data (MCD) using the CAM function of the CADCAM system, delivering the MCD to a filler machining center via a networked server, and machining a filler from a metallic or non-metallic composite materials using the MCD.
"In some embodiments, the automated filler production method may include obtaining gap measurement data by measuring a gap between component parts of a structure; capturing and delivering the gap measurement data to a data collector function; generating a new CAD solid model definition with the gap measurements, creating portable Machine Control Data (MCD) using the CAM function of the CADCAM system, delivering the MCD to a filler machining center via a networked server, and machining a filler from a metallic or non-metallic composite materials using the MCD.
"The disclosure is further generally directed to a method of applying a diamond abrasive cutting tool configuration to the fabrication of fillers from large sheets of non-metallic composite material. An illustrative embodiment of the method includes providing a cutting tool including a tool shank, a tool head attached to the tool shank and individual diamond abrasive cutting edges attached to the tool head; providing a non-metallic composite filler materials; and machining a filler from the filler from larger sheets of material using the cutting tool.
"The features, functions, and advantages that have been discussed can be achieved independently in various embodiments of the present disclosure or may be combined in yet other embodiments further details of which can be seen with reference to the following description and drawings.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE ILLUSTRATIONS
"FIG. 1 is a flow diagram of an illustrative embodiment of the automated filler production method.
"FIG. 1A is a flow diagram of an illustrative embodiment of a method of applying a diamond abrasive cutting tool configuration which enables unique gauge reduction material removal capabilities for non-metallic composite materials.
"FIGS. 2 and 2A are side and end views, respectively, of a diamond abrasive cutting tool configuration which enables the unique gauge reduction material removal capabilities of non-metallic composite materials in implementation of the automated filler production method.
"FIGS. 3 and 3A are side and end views, respectively, of an alternative diamond abrasive cutting tool configuration.
"FIGS. 4 and 4A are side and end views, respectively, of another alternative diamond abrasive cutting tool configuration.
"FIGS. 5 and 5A are side and end views, respectively, of still another alternative diamond abrasive cutting tool configuration.
"FIG. 6 is a flow diagram of an aircraft production and service methodology.
"FIG. 7 is a block diagram of an aircraft."
URL and more information on this patent application, see: Odendahl, David; Parent, Michael; Glasscock, Alan; Charlton, Craig; Bui, Peter; Fiske, Loren; Beaman,
Keywords for this news article include:
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