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Production technologies for lightweight structures made from fibre–metal laminates in aircraft fuselages

Abstract

Ever-increasing air traffic is placing growing demands on the materials and production technologies for the commercial aircraft of the future, with researchers seeking to significantly reduce the weight of aircraft structures while maintaining the same manufacturing costs. In addition, concepts relating to one-off development and investment costs must also be taken into consideration in order to meet the requirements for cost-efficient aircraft development. The development of a new production chain that will allow automated fuselage production for future short-haul aircraft is the focus of the studies that make up the joint project AUTOGLARE. As part of the fifth call-up for the German Aeronautical Research Programme, DLR is working with its project partners Airbus Operations GmbH, Premium Aerotech AG and the Fraunhofer Gesellschaft to develop a production chain based on fibre–metal laminates as a material, thus allowing a scaling-up to 60 aircraft per month. The work involved in the AUTOGLARE project relates to stiffened fuselage panels (Airbus fuselage sections 13–18) (Muntane in An overview of commercial aircraft 2017–2018. DVB Aviation Research, 2016). In this study, the automated overall process chain is demonstrated using the baseline production technology created at the Technologiezentrum Nordenham, together with the alternative technologies developed at the DLR sites in Stade and Augsburg. In addition to a detailed explanation of the systems that were set up, this paper covers the planned tests, the completed demonstration models and the findings derived from them.

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Acknowledgements

The authors would like to thank the German Federal Ministry of Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi) and the DLR Project Management Agency, who provided funding for this project, under the auspices of the second call for the fifth German Aeronautical Research Programme. They would also like to thank all the partners—Airbus Operations GmbH, Fokker Technologies, Stelia Aerospace, FFT EDAG, Hexcel and 3M—for the smooth collaboration. Finally, the authors would like to show their appreciation to all of the colleagues who are not included in the list of authors, but nevertheless made essential contributions towards the research and its findings.

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Correspondence to H. Ucan.

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Ucan, H., Apmann, H., Graßl, G. et al. Production technologies for lightweight structures made from fibre–metal laminates in aircraft fuselages. CEAS Aeronaut J 10, 479–489 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s13272-018-0330-3

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s13272-018-0330-3

Keywords

  • FML
  • Fuselage sections
  • Automated composite manufacturing
  • Lay-up technologies
  • ATL
  • AFP
  • Multi head pick and place technologies
  • Inline quality assurance
  • One shot bonding
  • Inductive prebonding of stringers