Applying Design for Assembly Principles in Computer Aided Design to Make Small Changes that Improve the Efficiency of Manual Aircraft Systems Installations

Lockett, Helen; Fletcher, Sarah and Luquet, Nicolas (2014). Applying Design for Assembly Principles in Computer Aided Design to Make Small Changes that Improve the Efficiency of Manual Aircraft Systems Installations. SAE International Journal of Aerospace, 7(2) 284 - 291.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.4271/2014-01-2266

Abstract

The installation of essential systems into aircraft wings involves numerous labour-intensive processes. Many human operators are required to perform complex manual tasks over long periods of time in very challenging physical positions due to the limited access and confined space. This level of human activity in poor ergonomic conditions directly impacts on speed and quality of production but also, in the longer term, can cause costly human resource problems from operators' cumulative development of musculoskeletal injuries. These problems are exacerbated in areas of the wing which house multiple systems components because the volume of manual work and number of operators is higher but the available space is reduced.To improve the efficiency of manual work processes which cannot yet be automated we therefore need to consider how we might redesign systems installations in the enclosed wing environment to better enable operator access and reduce production time.This paper describes a recent study that applied design for assembly and maintainability principles and CATIA v5 computer aided design software to identify small design changes for wing systems installation tasks. Results show positive impacts for ergonomics, production time and cost, and maintainability, whilst accounting for aircraft performance and machining capabilities.

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