Review of the application of flexible, measurement-assisted assembly technology in aircraft manufacturing

Z. Mei, P. G. Maropoulos

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

92 Citations (SciVal)


Aircraft assembly is the most important part of aircraft manufacturing. A large number of assembly fixtures must be used to ensure the assembly accuracy in the aircraft assembly process. Traditional fixed assembly fixture could not satisfy the change of the aircraft types, so the digital flexible assembly fixture was developed and was gradually applied in the aircraft assembly. Digital flexible assembly technology has also become one of the research directions in the field of aircraft manufacturing. The aircraft flexible assembly can be divided into three assembly stages that include component-level flexible assembly, large component-level flexible assembly, and large components alignment and joining. This article introduces the architecture of flexible assembly systems and the principles of three types of flexible assembly fixtures. The key technologies of the digital flexible assembly are also discussed. The digital metrology system provides the basis for the accurate digital flexible assembly. Aircraft flexible assembly systems mainly use laser tracking metrology systems and indoor Global Positioning System metrology systems. With the development of flexible assembly technology, the digital flexible assembly system will be widely used in current aircraft manufacturing.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1185-1197
JournalProceedings of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, Part B: Journal of Engineering Manufacture
Issue number10
Early online date7 Feb 2014
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2014


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