Automate 2023

Systems Engineering Approach to Production Lines

Systems Engineering Approach to Production Lines

Geoffrey Karpa - Applications Engineer Staff, Lockheed Martin Aeronautics

In a world of automation technology, the aerospace industry still heavily relies on the "human touch," F-35 production is no exception with the abundant manual drilling and assembly processes. A process can be simple but often requires multiple solutions to address a complex set of variables. Robots are reliable, proven, and they look cool; however, the robot is only a small piece of the puzzle that makes up the entire system. Applications engineers at Lockheed Martin utilized a systems engineering approach to determine the best solutions to the various challenges. This presentation will walk through how an automated system was designed for F-35 production. It will address the methods and tools used such as requirements development, feasibility studies, risk management, and simulation. Components of the system will be covered at a high level including the end effector, tool assemblies, quality control, and part fixturing. The presentation will also provide insight into the challenges faced during design and integration and how they were overcome. Additional topics covered will be lessons learned, the importance of sound project management, and accounting for the external systems when integrating into an existing production line. 


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