Archives for May 18, 2009

F-35 Assembly by Robots

Aircraft manufacturers are moving ahead with the use of robotics in the construction of the newest armed forces jets.  This article from Robotics & Automation details how the new F-35 will use robotics to speed-up the manufacturing process for aircraft.  What follows is some selected quotes from the article.  I think what is especially important is the possibility of drastically reducing the manufacturing times on the aircraft and the movement of these technologies to the commercial aviation field.   Follow the links above or at the bottom of this post to see the entire article and all the photos.

“The Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL, Dayton, OH) has been spearheading an effort to use commercial six-axis robots in the F-35 production process.”

Northrop Grumman “…made significant investments in using robotics to speed the flow of center fuselage assembly. Installation of robotic drilling machines during low-rate initial production is expected to reduce drilling times on key assemblies by up to 70 percent.”

“By using articulated robots, we’ll go from a 50-hour manual process to a 15-hour automated process,” says Scott Gillette, a manufacturing technology development engineer who’s working on the project.

“Many observers believe the F-35 applications will eventually trickle down to the commercial aviation sector and spur widespread use of robots. Robotic drilling is a growing area that has major benefits for the entire aerospace industry.”

F-35 Assembly by Robots
Youngester (
Sat, 16 May 2009 13:50:00 GMT