(19)
(11)EP 4 032 815 B1

(12)EUROPEAN PATENT SPECIFICATION

(45)Mention of the grant of the patent:
01.11.2023 Bulletin 2023/44

(21)Application number: 22152698.1

(22)Date of filing:  21.01.2022
(51)International Patent Classification (IPC): 
B64F 5/10(2017.01)
B23P 5/00(2006.01)
B23P 21/00(2006.01)
B23Q 35/18(2006.01)
B25B 11/00(2006.01)
B23K 37/04(2006.01)
B23P 19/00(2006.01)
B23Q 7/00(2006.01)
B25B 1/00(2006.01)
B25H 1/00(2006.01)
(52)Cooperative Patent Classification (CPC):
B64F 5/10; B23K 37/0435; B23P 2700/01; B23P 21/004

(54)

SYSTEM AND METHOD FOR POSITIONING A SUB-ASSEMBLY FOR INSTALLATION

SYSTEM UND VERFAHREN ZUR POSITIONIERUNG EINER UNTERANORDNUNG ZUR INSTALLATION

SYSTÈME ET PROCÉDÉ DE POSITIONNEMENT D'UN SOUS-ENSEMBLE D'INSTALLATION


(84)Designated Contracting States:
AL AT BE BG CH CY CZ DE DK EE ES FI FR GB GR HR HU IE IS IT LI LT LU LV MC MK MT NL NO PL PT RO RS SE SI SK SM TR

(30)Priority: 26.01.2021 US 202163141949 P

(43)Date of publication of application:
27.07.2022 Bulletin 2022/30

(73)Proprietor: The Boeing Company
Arlington, VA 22202 (US)

(72)Inventor:
  • BONNEFOY, Pierig
    Chicago, 60606-1596 (US)

(74)Representative: Howson, Richard Giles Bentham et al
Kilburn & Strode LLP Lacon London 84 Theobalds Road
London WC1X 8NL
London WC1X 8NL (GB)


(56)References cited: : 
EP-A1- 3 363 588
DE-U1-202017 105 281
US-A- 5 701 651
US-A1- 2020 223 559
WO-A2-2014/023284
US-A- 4 861 008
US-A1- 2014 353 894
US-B1- 7 980 796
  
      
    Note: Within nine months from the publication of the mention of the grant of the European patent, any person may give notice to the European Patent Office of opposition to the European patent granted. Notice of opposition shall be filed in a written reasoned statement. It shall not be deemed to have been filed until the opposition fee has been paid. (Art. 99(1) European Patent Convention).


    Description

    FIELD



    [0001] This disclosure relates generally to a system for positioning a sub-assembly for installation, and to a corresponding method.

    BACKGROUND



    [0002] The assembly of large structures, such as airplanes, is typically performed on a factory floor where parts are moved into installation positions to be installed to and partially form the large structure. In the case of an airplane, parts to be installed on the airplane, such as subassemblies of a fuselage, can be assembled together to form the fuselage in an assembly line.

    [0003] A moving assembly line, such as a pulse line, can be utilized. In a pulse line, parts to be installed are positioned sequentially in a straight or U-shaped line on the factory floor. The parts stay at those positions while the large structure (e.g., an aircraft fuselage) is moved through the pulse line. The large structure will remain in one location along the pulse line until all the parts at that location are installed and other planned work is completed, then the large structure is moved (i.e. pulsed) to the next location. Existing solutions primarily use manual processes for locating, moving, and positioning of parts, which leads to long installation times and is labor intensive. Accordingly, the time and labor inefficiencies of manual processes can slowdown the assembly of large structures in the assembly line, which can result in rate requirements, such as for an aircraft fuselage assembly line, to be missed.

    [0004] US2014/353894A1, in accordance with its abstract, states an apparatus and method for supporting an object. In one illustrative embodiment, an apparatus may comprise a support structure, a positioning system, and a retention system. The positioning system may be associated with the support structure and configured to position the support structure with respect to a number of linear axes. The retention system may be associated with the support structure. The retention system may be configured to retain a portion of an object and move the portion of the object towards a platform such that the portion of the object substantially conforms to a shape of the platform.

    [0005] The subject matter of the present application has been developed in response to the present state of the art, and in particular, in response to shortcomings of conventional installation and assembly processes and systems. Accordingly, the subject matter of the present application provides a system and method for positioning a sub-assembly for installation that overcome at least some of the above-discussed shortcomings of conventional processes and systems.

    [0006] The invention to which this European patent relates is defined in appended set of claims. In the following description, numerous specific details are provided to impart a thorough understanding of examples of the subject matter of the present disclosure. One skilled in the relevant art will recognize that the subject matter of the present disclosure may be practiced without one or more of the specific features, details, components, materials, and/or methods of a particular example or implementation. In other instances, additional features and advantages may be recognized in certain examples and/or implementations that may not be present in all examples or implementations. Further, in some instances, well-known structures, materials, or operations are not shown or described in detail to avoid obscuring aspects of the subject matter of the present disclosure. The features and advantages of the subject matter of the present disclosure will become more fully apparent from the following description and appended claims, or may be learned by the practice of the subject matter as set forth hereinafter.

    BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS



    [0007] In order that the advantages of the subject matter may be more readily understood, a more particular description of the subject matter briefly described above will be rendered by reference to specific examples that are illustrated in the appended drawings. Understanding that these drawings depict only typical examples of the subject matter, they are not therefore to be considered to be limiting of its scope. The subject matter will be described and explained with additional specificity and detail through the use of the drawings, in which:

    Figure 1 is a schematic perspective view of a tool for positioning a sub-assembly for installation to an assembling body, according to one or more examples of the present disclosure;

    Figure 2 is a schematic perspective view of a tool for positioning a sub-assembly for installation to an assembling body, a sub-assembly placed on the tool, according to one or more examples of the present disclosure;

    Figure 3 is a schematic perspective view of an exterior conforming device, according to one or more examples of the present disclosure;

    Figure 4 is a schematic perspective view of a system for positioning a sub-assembly for installation to an assembling body, an exterior conforming device on the exterior surface of the assembling body and a tool visible through an opening in the assembling body, according to one or more examples of the present disclosure;

    Figure 5 is a schematic perspective view of a system for positioning a sub-assembly for installation to an assembling body, a tool in an install position and an interior conforming device and an exterior conforming device engaging the assembling body, according to one or more examples of the present disclosure;

    Figure 6 is a schematic perspective view of a system for positioning a sub-assembly for installation to an assembling body, the tool in an install position, according to one or more examples of the present disclosure; and

    Figure 7 is a schematic flow diagram of a method for positioning a sub-assembly for installation to an assembling body, according to one or more examples of the present disclosure.


    DETAILED DESCRIPTION



    [0008] Reference throughout this specification to "one example," "an example," or similar language means that a particular feature, structure, or characteristic described in connection with the example is included in at least one example of the present disclosure. Appearances of the phrases "in one example," "in an example," and similar language throughout this specification may, but do not necessarily, all refer to the same example. Similarly, the use of the term "implementation" means an implementation having a particular feature, structure, or characteristic described in connection with one or more examples of the present disclosure, however, absent an express correlation to indicate otherwise, an implementation may be associated with one or more examples.

    [0009] In some examples, the present disclosure provides systems and methods that are configured to position a sub-assembly for later installation of the sub-assembly to an opening in an assembling body. Generally, the process of positioning a sub-assembly adjacent to the opening in an assembling body is a time-consuming, labor-intensive, and manually-driven process. The systems and methods of the present disclosure can be used to make the process more automated and efficient by providing a tool for supporting the sub-assembly while positioning the sub-assembly. Accordingly, the systems and methods can be used to help ensure a sub-assembly is positioned for installation to an opening in an assembly body both in a timely and labor efficient manner.

    [0010] Referring to Figure 1, and according to some examples, a system 100 that includes a tool 102 for supporting a sub-assembly 101 (see, e.g., Figure 2) is shown. The tool 102 includes a base 104 and a sub-assembly support 106. The sub-assembly support 106 is positioned above the base 104 and is mounted to the base 106. In one example, the sub-assembly support 106 is mounted to the base at a pivot axis 108. The sub-assembly support 106 is configured to pivot relative to the base 104 between a loading position 126 and an install position 128 (see, e.g., Figure 5). Pivoting of the sub-assembly support 106 may be controlled by an actuator 114.

    [0011] The actuator 114, or each one of multiple actuators 114, is selectively operable to tilt a first surface 120 of the sub-assembly support 106 relatively to the base 104. The actuator 114 has a first end 116, attached to the sub-assembly support 106, and a second end 118, attached to the base 104. The actuator 114 may be attached to the sub-assembly support 106 at any location along the width W of the base 104. Additionally, multiple actuators 114 may be attached to the sub-assembly support 106 and work in unison to adjust the angle of the sub-assembly support 106 relative to the base 104. As shown in Figure 1, the sub-assembly support 106 is at the loading position 126 in which the sub-assembly support 106 defines an angle θ1 relative to the base 104. The loading position 126 is the position in which a sub-assembly 101 can be conveniently placed upon the sub-assembly support 106. In the loading position 126, the actuator(s) 114 are in a lowered or unactuated position. In one example, the loading position 126 may correspond with a substantially horizontal position, such that the angle θ1 is approximately zero. In another example, the loading position 126 is at an acute angle θ1 relative to the base 104, and tilts the sub-assembly support 106 at an orientation that is easily accessible for loading a sub-assembly on the sub-assembly support 106 by an operator. The actuator 114 may be a pneumatic, hydraulic, electromagnetic, motorized, or other suitable releasably actuating and locking device.

    [0012] The tool 102 may be formed of materials, including, but not limited to, metallic materials, such as steel or aluminum, composite materials, plastic materials, or other similar materials. In some examples, the sub-assembly support 106 and the base 104 are formed of the same materials. In other examples, the sub-assembly support 106 and the base 104 are formed of different materials.

    [0013] Additionally, in certain examples, the tool 102 includes an interior conforming device 130 with multiple interior conforming device armatures 130a, 130b (see, e.g., Figure 5). The interior conforming device 130 has an interfacing surface 150 that is configured to interface with an interior surface 110 of an assembling body 112. As used herein, with regards to surfaces, interface means that two or more surfaces are brought together in close proximity, including direct contact or indirect contact. Accordingly, the interior conforming device 130 is brought in close proximity to an interior surface 110 of an assembling body 112 when the tool 102 is in use. In some examples, the interfacing surface 150, defined by the interior conforming device 130, has a flat or planar surface. In other examples, the interfacing surface 150 of the interior conforming device 130 includes one or more contours or curved surfaces. The interior conforming device 130 can have any of various shapes or dimensions. However, the shape of the interfacing surface 150 corresponds with or complements the shape of the interior surface 110 of the assembling body 112. As defined herein, the interfacing surface 150 need not be a continuous surface and can be a collection of discontinuous or spaced apart surfaces, as shown in Figure 1. Accordingly, in some examples, the interfacing surface 150 is the combination of multiple spaced apart surfaces where the contour of the interfacing surface 150 is defined by an extrapolated surface between and including the spaced apart surfaces.

    [0014] The interior conforming device 130 further includes a plurality of pins 148 that extend from the interfacing surface 150. In some examples, as shown, each one of the plurality of pins 148 extends from a corresponding one of the spaced apart surfaces defining the interfacing surface 150. In one example, the plurality of pins 148 are permanently extended from the interfacing surface 150. In another example, the plurality of pins 148 are selectively retractable from the interfacing surface 150. The plurality of pins 148 can have any of various shapes or dimensions.

    [0015] As shown in Figure 2, the tool 102 is used to support a sub-assembly 101 to be installed to an assembling body 112 (e.g., a main assembly or large structure, such as a vehicle). In certain examples, the assembling body 112 is an aircraft fuselage 136 (see, e.g., Figure 4). As used herein, the assembling body 112 will be described in the context of an aircraft, however, it should be understood that the assembling body 112 could be any large structure. The sub-assembly 101 may be a door frame sub-assembly 140 that is configured to be installed in a door opening in the aircraft fuselage 136. The sub-assembly 101 is placed on the tool 102 while the tool 102 is in the loading position 126. In one example, the sub-assembly 101 is placed on the tool 102 as a complete structure. In another examples, the sub-assembly 101 is built or assembled while on the tool 102.

    [0016] Referring to Figure 3, the system 100 further includes exterior conforming devices 132. The exterior conforming devices 132 are discrete from the tool 102 and are positioned adjacent to an exterior surface 134 of the assembling body 112 (see, e.g., Figure 4). Multiple exterior conforming device armatures 132a and 132b may be utilized to interface with the exterior surface 134 of the assembling body 112. In one example, the exterior conforming device 132, in conjunction with the interior conforming device 130, is used to maintain the shape of the assembling body 112 during attachment of the sub-assembly 101 to the assembling body 112. In other words, the interior conforming device 130 and the exterior conforming device 132 help ensure that the assembling body 112 maintains conformance to the desired contours of the assembling body 112 during an installation process on the assembling body 112, thus preventing deformation of the assembling body 112 due to the attachment of the sub-assembly 101 thereto. Accordingly, an interfacing surface 158 of the exterior conforming device 132, defined in a manner similar to the interfacing surface 150 of the interior conforming device 130, generally corresponds with or complements the exterior surface 134 of the assembling body 112. In another example, the interior conforming device 130 and the exterior conforming device 132 are used to alter the shape of the assembling body 112 during an installation process. Accordingly, the interfacing surface 158 of the exterior conforming device 132 and the interfacing surface 150 of the interior conforming device 130 does not correlate with an exterior surface 134 of the assembling body 112 before use, but alters the shape of the assembling body 112 during use.

    [0017] The exterior conforming device 132 has a plurality of pins 156. The plurality of pins 156 extends from the interfacing surface 158, with each one of the plurality of pins 156 extending from a respective one of the spaced apart portions of the interfacing surface 158 in some examples. In one example, the plurality of pins 156 are permanently extended from the interfacing surface 158. In another example, the plurality of pins 156 are selectively retractable from the interfacing surface 158. The plurality of pins 156 can have any of various shapes or dimensions. A first exterior conforming device armature 132a has a first interfacing surface 158a and a second exterior conforming device armature 132b has a second interfacing surface 158b.

    [0018] As shown in Figure 4, the exterior conforming device 132 is configured to interface with the exterior surface 134 of the assembling body 112. The assembling body 112 includes an opening 122. The opening 122 is sized and shaped for installation of the sub-assembly 101. The opening 122 may be a door frame opening 138 for an aircraft fuselage 136. As shown, multiple exterior conforming device armatures 132a and 132b are positioned adjacent to the exterior surface 134 on either side of the opening 122. A first exterior conforming device armature 132a is positioned on a first exterior side 160 of the opening 122. The first exterior conforming device armature 132a includes a plurality of pins 156 extending from the first interfacing surface 158a and configured to contact the first exterior side 160 of the opening 122. A second exterior conforming device armature 132b is positioned on a second exterior side 162 of the opening 122. The second exterior conforming device armature 132b includes a plurality of pins 156 extending from the second interfacing surface 158b and configured to contact the second exterior side 162 of the opening 122. The first exterior side 160 spaced apart from the second exterior side 162. In one example, the first exterior side 160 is on the opposite side of the opening 122 from the second exterior side 162.

    [0019] The exterior conforming device 132 is supported by a floor 142 and may be fixed to the floor 142 adjacent to the exterior surface 134 of the assembling body 112, such that the exterior conforming device 132 can interface with the assembling body 112 without adjustment. Alternatively, the exterior conforming device 132 may be selectively movable about the floor 142 relative to the exterior surface 134 of the assembling body 112. The exterior conforming device 132 may be movable in multiple directions including, toward and back from the assembling body 112 or along the length of the assembling body 112. Additionally, the exterior conforming device 132 may be extendable.

    [0020] The assembling body 112 may be attached to a conveyor system 164 in some examples as shown in Figure 4. The conveyor system 164 moves the assembling body 112 through an assembly line, such as a pulse line. The assembling body 112 remains at a location shown in Figure 4 during the positioning and installation of the sub-assembly 101 and other necessary work and then is pulsed to the next location along the assembly line. The positioning and installation of the sub-assembly 101 using the system 100 improves the efficiency of the processes and enables the installation of the sub-assembly 101 in one single step.

    [0021] Referring to Figure 5, an implementation of the system 100 is shown. The system 100 includes a tool 102 with an interior conforming device 130 having multiple interior conforming device armatures 130a and 130b and an exterior conforming device 132 having multiple exterior conforming device armatures 132a and 132b. The interior conforming device armatures 130a and 130b are contacting the interior surface 110 of the assembling body 112. The exterior conforming device armatures 132a and 132b are contacting the exterior surface 134 of the assembling body 112. Thus, the interior conforming device armatures 130a and 130b and the exterior conforming device armatures 132a and 132b work in combination to contact the assembling body 112 from the interior surface 110 and exterior surface 134, respectively, to help maintain the shape of or to change the shape of the assembling body 112. The tool 102 includes multiple actuators 114 that are activated to tilt the first surface 120 of the sub-assembly support 106 toward the opening 122 in the assembling body 112. The sub-assembly support 106 is in the install position 128 in which the sub-assembly support 106 defines an angle θ2 relative to the base 104. The angle θ2 is greater than the angle θ1. The install position 128 is the position in which the sub-assembly 101 can be supported by the sub-assembly support 106 while the sub-assembly 101 is installed to the opening 122.

    [0022] The tool 102 is selectively movable relative to the interior surface 110 of the assembling body 112 along the floor 142 beneath the tool 102. In one example, the tool 102 is selectively movable using an automatic guide vehicle 144. The base 104 may incorporate the automatic guide vehicle 144. Alternatively, the base may be attached to an automatic guide vehicle 144. The automatic guide vehicle 144 is configured to move the tool 102 adjacent to the interior surface 110 of the assembling body 112 by sensing at least one reference guide 146 on the floor 142. The reference guides 146 may be any marking the automatic guide vehicle 144 can follow, including but not limited to, marked long lines or wires on the floor 142.

    [0023] Referring to Figure 6, multiple interior conforming device armatures 130a and 130b of the interior conforming device 130 are configured to interface with the interior surface 110 of the assembling body 112. The assembling body 112 includes the opening 122. The first interior conforming device armature 130a includes a plurality of pins 148 that can extend from an interfacing surface 150a and configured to contact a first interior side 152 of the opening 122 of the assembling body 112. The second interior conforming device armature 130b also includes a plurality of pins 148 extending from an interfacing surface 150b and configured to contact a second interior side 154 of the opening 122 of the assembling body 112. The first interior side 152 spaced apart from the second interior side 154. In one example, the first interior side 152 is on the opposite side of the opening 122 from the second interior side 154.

    [0024] The tool 102 may include an adjustment wheel 103. In one example, the adjustment wheel 103 is on a second surface 121 of the sub-assembly support 106, which is opposite the first surface 120 of the sub-assembly support 106. The adjustment wheel 103 is used to make adjustments to the position of sub-assembly support 106 relative to the opening 122 while the sub-assembly support 106 is in the install position 128. In one example, the adjustment wheel 103 can adjust the orientation or position of the sub-assembly support 106, relative to the opening 122, with multiple degrees of freedom, such as up and down, left and right, or forward and backward. In another example, the adjustment wheel 103 can be adjusted to adjust with six degrees of freedom (e.g., in three translations (forward/backward, up/down, left-right) and three rotations (pitch, yaw, and roll), thus allowing an even more accurate positioning of the sub-assembly support 106 relative to the opening 122.

    [0025] Referring to Figure 7, according to one example, a method 300 for positioning a sub-assembly 101 for installation includes (block 302) placing a sub-assembly 101 on a sub-assembly support 106. The sub-assembly support 106 is positioned above a base 104 of a tool 102. The sub-assembly support 106 is pivotably mounted at a pivot axis 108 to the base 104. The method 300 also includes (block 304) activating at least one actuator 114 attached to the sub-assembly support 106 and the base 104. The actuator 114 tilts a first surface 120 of the sub-assembly support 106 along the pivot axis 108 and tilts the sub-assembly support 106 toward an opening 122 in an assembling body 112. The method 300 further includes (block 306) engaging an interior conforming device 130 attached to the tool 102 to interface with an interior surface 110 of the assembling body 112. The method 300 additionally includes (block 308) engaging an exterior conforming device 132, discrete from the tool 102, and adjacent to an exterior surface 134 of the assembling body 112 to interface with the exterior surface 134 of the assembling body 112.

    [0026] In the above description, certain terms may be used such as "up," "down," "upper," "lower," "horizontal," "vertical," "left," "right," "over," "under" and the like. These terms are used, where applicable, to provide some clarity of description when dealing with relative relationships. But, these terms are not intended to imply absolute relationships, positions, and/or orientations. For example, with respect to an object, an "upper" surface can become a "lower" surface simply by turning the object over. Nevertheless, it is still the same object. Further, the terms "including," "comprising," "having," and variations thereof mean "including but not limited to" unless expressly specified otherwise. An enumerated listing of items does not imply that any or all of the items are mutually exclusive and/or mutually inclusive, unless expressly specified otherwise. The terms "a," "an," and "the" also refer to "one or more" unless expressly specified otherwise. Further, the term "plurality" can be defined as "at least two." Moreover, unless otherwise noted, as defined herein a plurality of particular features does not necessarily mean every particular feature of an entire set or class of the particular features.

    [0027] Additionally, instances in this specification where one element is "coupled" to another element can include direct and indirect coupling. Direct coupling can be defined as one element coupled to and in some contact with another element. Indirect coupling can be defined as coupling between two elements not in direct contact with each other, but having one or more additional elements between the coupled elements. Further, as used herein, securing one element to another element can include direct securing and indirect securing. Additionally, as used herein, "adjacent" does not necessarily denote contact. For example, one element can be adjacent another element without being in contact with that element.

    [0028] As used herein, the phrase "at least one of', when used with a list of items, means different combinations of one or more of the listed items may be used and only one of the items in the list may be needed. The item may be a particular object, thing, or category. In other words, "at least one of" means any combination of items or number of items may be used from the list, but not all of the items in the list may be required. For example, "at least one of item A, item B, and item C" may mean item A; item A and item B; item B; item A, item B, and item C; or item B and item C. In some cases, "at least one of item A, item B, and item C" may mean, for example, without limitation, two of item A, one of item B, and ten of item C; four of item B and seven of item C; or some other suitable combination.

    [0029] Unless otherwise indicated, the terms "first," "second," etc. are used herein merely as labels, and are not intended to impose ordinal, positional, or hierarchical requirements on the items to which these terms refer. Moreover, reference to, e.g., a "second" item does not require or preclude the existence of, e.g., a "first" or lower-numbered item, and/or, e.g., a "third" or higher-numbered item.

    [0030] As used herein, a system, apparatus, structure, article, element, component, or hardware "configured to" perform a specified function is indeed capable of performing the specified function without any alteration, rather than merely having potential to perform the specified function after further modification. In other words, the system, apparatus, structure, article, element, component, or hardware "configured to" perform a specified function is specifically selected, created, implemented, utilized, programmed, and/or designed for the purpose of performing the specified function. As used herein, "configured to" denotes existing characteristics of a system, apparatus, structure, article, element, component, or hardware which enable the system, apparatus, structure, article, element, component, or hardware to perform the specified function without further modification. For purposes of this disclosure, a system, apparatus, structure, article, element, component, or hardware described as being "configured to" perform a particular function may additionally or alternatively be described as being "adapted to" and/or as being "operative to" perform that function.

    [0031] The schematic flow chart diagrams included herein are generally set forth as logical flow chart diagrams. As such, the depicted order and labeled steps are indicative of one example of the presented method. Other steps and methods may be conceived that are equivalent in function, logic, or effect to one or more steps, or portions thereof, of the illustrated method. Additionally, the format and symbols employed are provided to explain the logical steps of the method and are understood not to limit the scope of the method. Although various arrow types and line types may be employed in the flow chart diagrams, they are understood not to limit the scope of the corresponding method. Indeed, some arrows or other connectors may be used to indicate only the logical flow of the method. For instance, an arrow may indicate a waiting or monitoring period of unspecified duration between enumerated steps of the depicted method. Additionally, the order in which a particular method occurs may or may not strictly adhere to the order of the corresponding steps shown.


    Claims

    1. A system (100) for positioning a sub-assembly for installation, the system (100) comprising:

    a tool (102) comprising a base (104) and a sub-assembly support (106), the sub-assembly support (106) positioned above the base (104) and pivotably mounted to the base (104) at a pivot axis (108), the tool (102) positioned adjacent to an interior surface (110) of an assembling body (112) and configured to support a sub-assembly (101);

    at least one actuator (114) comprising a first end (116), attached to the sub-assembly support (106), and a second end (118), attached to the base (104), the at least one actuator (114) selectively operable to tilt a first surface (120) of the sub-assembly support (106) toward an opening (122) in the assembling body (112) and adjust an angle (124) of the sub-assembly support (106) relative to the base (104), wherein the sub-assembly support (106) is selectively adjustable between a loading position (126), distant from the opening (122) in the assembling body (112), and an install position (128), adjacent to the opening (122) in the assembling body (112);

    an interior conforming device (130) attached to the tool, wherein the interior conforming device (130) is configured to interface with the interior surface (110) of the assembling body (112) when the sub-assembly support (106) is in the install position (128); and

    an exterior conforming device (132) discrete from the tool (102) and positioned adjacent to an exterior surface (134) of the assembling body (112), wherein the exterior conforming device (132) is configured to interface with the exterior surface (134) of the assembling body (112).


     
    2. The system (100) of claim 1, wherein the assembling body (112) is an aircraft fuselage (136).
     
    3. The system (100) of claim 2, wherein:

    the opening (122) in the assembling body (112) is a door frame opening (138);

    the sub-assembly (101) is a door frame sub-assembly (140); and

    the tool (102) is configured to position the door frame sub-assembly (140) within the door frame opening (138) of the aircraft fuselage (136).


     
    4. The system (100) of any one of claims 1-3, wherein the tool (102) is selectively movable relative to the interior surface (110) of the assembling body (112) along a floor (142) beneath the tool (102).
     
    5. The system (100) of claim 4, further comprises an automated guide vehicle (144), wherein:

    the tool (102) is selectively movable using the automated guide vehicle (144); and

    the automated guide vehicle (144) is configured to move the tool (102) adjacent to the interior surface (110) of the assembling body (112) by sensing at least one reference guide (146) on the floor (142) beneath the tool (102).


     
    6. The system (100) of any one of claims 1-5, wherein:

    the interior conforming device (130) comprises a plurality of pins (148);

    the plurality of pins (148) permanently extend from an interfacing surface (150) of the interior conforming device (130); and

    the plurality of pins (148) is configured to contact the interior surface (110) of the assembling body (112).


     
    7. The system (100) of any one of claims 1-5, wherein:

    the interior conforming device (130) comprises a plurality of pins (148);

    the plurality of pins (148) selectively retractable from an interfacing surface (150) of the interior conforming device (130); and

    the plurality of pins (148) is configured to contact the interior surface (110) of the assembling body (112).


     
    8. The system (100) of any one of claims 1-5, wherein:

    the interior conforming device (130) comprises a first interior conforming device armature (130a) and a second interior conforming device armature (130b);

    the first interior conforming device armature (130a) is configured to interface with the interior surface (110) on a first side (152) of the opening (122) in the assembling body (112); and

    the second interior conforming device armature (130b) is configured to interface with the interior surface (110) on a second side (154), spaced apart from the first side (152), of the opening (122) in the assembling body (112).


     
    9. The system (100) of any one of claims 1-8, wherein:

    the exterior conforming device (132) comprises a plurality of pins (156);

    the plurality of pins (156) selectively retractable from an interfacing surface (158) of the exterior conforming device (132); and

    the plurality of pins (156) is configured to contact the exterior surface (134) of the assembling body (112).


     
    10. The system (100) of any one of claims 1-8, wherein:

    the exterior conforming device (132) comprises a first exterior conforming device armature (132a) and a second exterior conforming device armature (132b);

    the first exterior conforming device armature (132a) is configured to interface with the exterior surface (134) on a first exterior side (160) of the opening (122) in the assembling body (112);
    and

    the second exterior conforming device armature (132b) is configured to interface with the exterior surface (134) on a second exterior side (162), spaced apart from the first exterior side (160), of the opening (122) in the assembling body (112).


     
    11. The system (100) of any one of claims 1-10, wherein the exterior conforming device (132) is fixed relative to the exterior surface (134) of the assembling body (112).
     
    12. The system (100) of any one of claims 1-10, wherein the exterior conforming device (132) is selectively movable relative to the exterior surface (134) of the assembling body (112).
     
    13. The system (100) of any one of claims 1-12, wherein:

    the assembling body (112) is secured to a conveyor system (164) attached to floor (142);
    and

    the assembling body (112) is moved along the conveyor system (164) at a specified pulse rate.


     
    14. A method (300) for positioning a sub-assembly for installation, the method (300) comprising:

    placing (302) a sub-assembly (101) on a sub-assembly support (106), the sub-assembly support (106) positioned above a base (104) of a tool (102) and pivotably mounted at a pivot axis (108) to the base (104);

    activating (304) at least one actuator (114) attached to the sub-assembly support (106) and the base (104) to tilt a first surface (120) of the sub-assembly support (106) along the pivot axis (108), the sub-assembly support (106) tilting toward an opening (122) in an assembling body (112);

    engaging (306) an interior conforming device (130) attached to the tool (102) to interface with an interior surface (110) of the assembling body (112); and

    engaging (308) an exterior conforming device (132) adjacent to an exterior surface (134) of the assembling body (112) to interface with the exterior surface (134) of the assembling body (112).


     
    15. The method (300) of claim 14, further comprising:

    adjusting an adjustment wheel (103) on the sub-assembly support (106) to bring the first surface (120) of the sub-assembly support (106) to an install position (128), adjacent to the opening (122) in the assembling body (112);

    installing the sub-assembly support (106) to the opening (122) in the assembling body (112); and activating the at least one actuator (114) to pivot the first surface (120) of the sub-assembly support (106) away from the opening (122) in the assembling body (112) to decline the sub-assembly support (106) to a loading position (126).


     


    Ansprüche

    1. Ein System (100) zum Positionieren einer Unterbaugruppe für eine Installation, wobei das System (100) Folgendes aufweist:

    ein Werkzeug (102), das eine Basis (104) und einen Unterbaugruppenträger (106) aufweist, wobei der Unterbaugruppenträger (106) über der Basis (104) positioniert und schwenkbar an der Basis (104) an einer Schwenkachse (108) angebracht ist, wobei das Werkzeug (102) angrenzend an eine Innenfläche (110) eines Montagekörpers (112) positioniert ist und konfiguriert ist eine Unterbaugruppe (101) zu tragen;

    mindestens einen Aktuator (114), der ein erstes Ende (116), das an dem Unterbaugruppenträger (106) angebracht ist, und ein zweites Ende (118), das an der Basis (104) angebracht ist, aufweist, wobei der mindestens eine Aktuator (114) selektiv betätigbar ist, um eine erste Oberfläche (120) des Unterbaugruppenträgers (106) in Richtung einer Öffnung (122) in dem Montagekörper (112) zu neigen und einen Winkel (124) des Unterbaugruppenträgers (106) relativ zu der Basis (104) einzustellen, wobei die Unterbaugruppenstütze (106) selektiv zwischen einer Ladeposition (126), die von der Öffnung (122) in dem Montagekörper (112) entfernt ist, und einer Installationsposition (128), die an die Öffnung (122) in dem Montagekörper (112) angrenzt, einstellbar ist;

    eine Innenanpassungsvorrichtung (130), die an dem Werkzeug angebracht ist, wobei die Innenanpassungsvorrichtung (130) so konfiguriert ist, dass sie mit der Innenfläche (110) des Montagekörpers (112) in Berührung kommt, wenn sich der Unterbaugruppenträger (106) in der Installationsposition (128) befindet; und

    eine äußere Anpassungsvorrichtung (132), die von dem Werkzeug (102) getrennt ist und angrenzend an eine Außenfläche (134) des Montagekörpers (112) positioniert ist, wobei die äußere Anpassungsvorrichtung (132) so konfiguriert ist, dass sie mit der Außenfläche (134) des Montagekörpers (112) in Berührung kommt.


     
    2. Das System (100) nach Anspruch 1, wobei der Montagekörper (112) ein Flugzeugrumpf (136) ist.
     
    3. Das System (100) nach Anspruch 2, wobei:

    die Öffnung (122) im Zusammenbaukörper (112) eine Türrahmenöffnung (138) ist;

    die Unterbaugruppe (101) ist eine Türrahmen-Unterbaugruppe (140); und

    das Werkzeug (102) so konfiguriert ist, dass es die Türrahmen-Unterbaugruppe (140) in der Türrahmenöffnung (138) des Flugzeugrumpfes (136) positioniert.


     
    4. System (100) nach einem der Ansprüche 1 bis 3, wobei das Werkzeug (102) relativ zur Innenfläche (110) des Montagekörpers (112) entlang eines Bodens (142) unterhalb des Werkzeugs (102) selektiv beweglich ist.
     
    5. Das System (100) nach Anspruch 4 aufweist ferner ein automatisches Führungsfahrzeug (144), wobei:

    das Werkzeug (102) unter Verwendung des automatischen Führungsfahrzeugs (144) selektiv beweglich ist; und

    das automatische Führungsfahrzeug (144) so konfiguriert ist, dass es das Werkzeug (102) in die Nähe der Innenfläche (110) des Montagekörpers (112) bewegt, indem es mindestens eine Referenzführung (146) auf dem Boden (142) unter dem Werkzeug (102) erfasst.


     
    6. Das System (100) nach einem der Ansprüche 1-5, wobei:

    die Innenanpassungsvorrichtung (130) eine Vielzahl von Stiften (148) aufweist;

    die Vielzahl von Stiften (148) sich dauerhaft von einer Verbindungsfläche (150) der inneren Anpassungsvorrichtung (130) erstrecken; und

    die Mehrzahl von Stiften (148) so konfiguriert ist, dass sie die Innenfläche (110) des Montagekörpers (112) berühren.


     
    7. Das System (100) nach einem der Ansprüche 1-5, wobei:

    die Innenanpassungsvorrichtung (130) eine Vielzahl von Stiften (148) aufweist;

    die Vielzahl von Stiften (148), die selektiv von einer Verbindungsfläche (150) der Innenanpassungsvorrichtung (130) zurückziehbar sind; und

    die Mehrzahl von Stiften (148) so konfiguriert ist, dass sie die Innenfläche (110) des Montagekörpers (112) berühren.


     
    8. Das System (100) nach einem der Ansprüche 1-5, wobei:

    die Innenanpassungsvorrichtung (130) eine erste Innenanpassungsvorrichtungsarmatur (130a) und eine zweite Innenanpassungsvorrichtungsarmatur (130b) aufweist;

    die erste Innenanpassungsvorrichtungsarmatur (130a) so konfiguriert ist, dass sie mit der Innenfläche (110) auf einer ersten Seite (152) der Öffnung (122) in dem Zusammenbaukörper (112) in Berührung kommt; und

    die zweite Innenanpassungsvorrichtungsarmatur (130b) so konfiguriert ist, dass sie mit der Innenfläche (110) auf einer zweiten Seite (154), die von der ersten Seite (152) beabstandet ist, der Öffnung (122) in dem Zusammenbaukörper (112) zusammenwirkt.


     
    9. Das System (100) nach einem der Ansprüche 1-8, wobei:

    die äußere Anpassungsvorrichtung (132) eine Vielzahl von Stiften (156) aufweist;

    wobei die Mehrzahl von Stiften (156) selektiv von einer Verbindungsfläche (158) der äußeren Anpassungsvorrichtung (132) zurückziehbar ist; und

    die Vielzahl von Stiften (156) so konfiguriert ist, dass sie die Außenfläche (134) des Montagekörpers (112) berühren.


     
    10. Das System (100) nach einem der Ansprüche 1-8, wobei:

    die äußere Anpassungsvorrichtung (132) eine erste äußere Anpassungsvorrichtungsarmatur (132a) und eine zweite äußere Anpassungsvorrichtungsarmatur (132b) aufweist;

    die erste Außenanpassungsvorrichtungsarmatur (132a) so konfiguriert ist, dass sie mit der Außenfläche (134) auf einer ersten Außenseite (160) der Öffnung (122) in dem Zusammenbaukörper (112) in Berührung kommt; und

    die zweite Außenanpassungsvorrichtungsarmatur (132b) so konfiguriert ist, dass sie mit der Außenfläche (134) auf einer zweiten Außenseite (162), die von der ersten Außenseite (160) beabstandet ist, der Öffnung (122) in dem Zusammenbaukörper (112) zusammenwirkt.


     
    11. Das System (100) nach einem der Ansprüche 1 bis 10, wobei die äußere Anpassungsvorrichtung (132) relativ zur Außenfläche (134) des Montagekörpers (112) befestigt ist.
     
    12. Das System (100) nach einem der Ansprüche 1 bis 10, wobei die äußere Anpassungsvorrichtung (132) selektiv relativ zur Außenfläche (134) des Montagekörpers (112) beweglich ist.
     
    13. Das System (100) nach einem der Ansprüche 1-12, wobei:

    der Montagekörper (112) ist an einem Fördersystem (164) befestigt, das am Boden (142) angebracht ist; und

    der Montagekörper (112) entlang des Fördersystems (164) mit einer bestimmten Taktrate bewegt wird.


     
    14. Verfahren (300) zum Positionieren einer Unterbaugruppe für die Installation, wobei das Verfahren (300) aufweist:

    Platzieren (302) einer Unterbaugruppe (101) auf einem Unterbaugruppenträger (106), wobei der Unterbaugruppenträger (106) über einer Basis (104) eines Werkzeugs (102) positioniert und schwenkbar an einer Schwenkachse (108) an der Basis (104) angebracht ist;

    aktivieren (304) mindestens eines Aktuators (114), der an der Unterbaugruppenhalterung (106) und der Basis (104) angebracht ist, um eine erste Oberfläche (120) der Unterbaugruppenhalterung (106) entlang der Schwenkachse (108) zu kippen, wobei die Unterbaugruppenhalterung (106) in Richtung einer Öffnung (122) in einem Montagekörper (112) kippt;

    Eingreifen (306) in eine an dem Werkzeug (102) angebrachte Innenanpassungsvorrichtung (130), um eine Schnittstelle mit eine Innenfläche (110) des Montagekörpers (112); und Eingreifen (308) einer äußeren Anpassungsvorrichtung (132) angrenzend an eine Außenfläche (134) des Montagekörpers (112), um mit der Außenfläche (134) des Montagekörpers (112) zusammenzuwirken.


     
    15. Das Verfahren (300) nach Anspruch 14 ferner aufweisend:

    Einstellen eines Einstellrades (103) auf dem Unterbaugruppenträger (106), um die erste Oberfläche (120) des Unterbaugruppenträgers (106) in eine Installationsposition (128) zu bringen, die an die Öffnung (122) in dem Montagekörper (112) angrenzt;

    Anbringen des Unterbaugruppenträgers (106) an der Öffnung (122) im Montagekörper (112); und 10 Aktivieren des mindestens einen Aktuator (114) zum Schwenken der ersten Fläche (120) der Unterbaugruppe

    Träger (106) von der Öffnung (122) im Montagekörper (112) weg, um den Unterbaugruppenträger (106) in eine Ladeposition (126) zu bringen.


     


    Revendications

    1. Système (100) pour positionner un sous-ensemble pour installation, le système (100) comprenant :

    un outil (102) comprenant une base (104) et un support de sous-ensemble (106), le support de sous-ensemble (106) étant positionné au-dessus de la base (104) et monté de façon pivotante par rapport à la base (104) au niveau d'un axe de pivotement (108), l'outil (102) étant positionné de façon adjacente à une surface intérieure (110) d'un corps d'assemblage (112) et configuré pour supporter un sous-ensemble (101) ;

    au moins un actionneur (114) comprenant une première extrémité (116) fixée sur le support de sous-ensemble (106), et une seconde extrémité (118) fixée sur la base (104), l'au moins un actionneur (114) étant sélectivement utilisable pour incliner une première surface (120) du support de sous-ensemble (106) vers une ouverture (122) située dans le corps d'assemblage (112) et

    pour régler un angle (124) du support de sous-ensemble (106) par rapport à la base (104), système dans lequel le support de sous-ensemble (106) est sélectivement réglable entre une position de chargement (126) se trouvant à distance de l'ouverture (122) située dans le corps d'assemblage (112), et une position d'installation (128) adjacente à l'ouverture (122) située dans le corps d'assemblage (112) ;

    un dispositif de conformation intérieur (130) fixé sur l'outil, système dans lequel le dispositif de conformation intérieur (130) est configuré pour assurer l'interface avec la surface intérieure (110) du corps d'assemblage (112), lorsque le support de sous-ensemble (106) est dans la position d'installation (128) ; et

    un dispositif de conformation extérieur (132) discret par rapport à l'outil (102) et positionné de façon adjacente à une surface extérieure (134) du corps d'assemblage (112),

    système dans lequel le dispositif de conformation extérieur (132) est configuré pour assurer l'interface avec la surface extérieure (134) du corps d'assemblage (112).


     
    2. Système (100) selon la revendication 1, dans lequel le corps d'assemblage (112) est un fuselage d'avion (136).
     
    3. système (100) selon la revendication 2, dans lequel :

    l'ouverture (122) située dans le corps d'assemblage (112) est une ouverture d'encadrement de porte (138) ;

    le sous-ensemble (101) est un sous-ensemble d'encadrement de porte (140) ; et

    l'outil (102) est configuré pour positionner le sous-ensemble d'encadrement de porte (140) dans l'ouverture d'encadrement de porte (138) du fuselage d'avion (136).


     
    4. Système (100) selon l'une quelconque des revendications 1 à 3, dans lequel l'outil (102) est sélectivement mobile par rapport à la surface intérieure (110) du corps d'assemblage (112) le long d'un plancher (142) sous l'outil (102).
     
    5. système (100) selon la revendication 4, comprenant en outre un véhicule de guidage automatisé (144), système dans lequel :

    l'outil (102) est sélectivement mobile en utilisant le véhicule de guidage automatisé (144) ; et

    le véhicule de guidage automatisé (144) est configuré pour déplacer l'outil (102) adjacent à la surface intérieure (110) du corps d'assemblage (112), en détectant au moins un guidage de référence (146) sur le plancher (142) sous l'outil (102).


     
    6. système (100) selon l'une quelconque des revendications 1 à 5, dans lequel :

    le dispositif de conformation intérieur (130) comprend une pluralité de goupilles (148) ;

    la pluralité de goupilles (148) s'étend de façon permanente à partir d'une surface d'interfaçage (150) du dispositif de conformation intérieur (130) ; et

    la pluralité de goupilles (148) est configurée pour venir au contact de la surface intérieure (110) du corps d'assemblage (112).


     
    7. Système (100) selon l'une quelconque des revendications 1 à 5, dans lequel :

    le dispositif de conformation intérieur (130) comprend une pluralité de goupilles (148) ;

    la pluralité de goupilles (148) est sélectivement rétractable par rapport à une surface d'interfaçage (150) du dispositif de conformation intérieur (130) ; et

    la pluralité de goupilles (148) est configurée pour venir au contact de la surface intérieure (110) du corps d'assemblage (112).


     
    8. système (100) selon l'une quelconque des revendications 1 à 5, dans lequel :

    le dispositif de conformation intérieur (130) comprend une première armature (130a) du dispositif de conformation intérieur et une seconde armature (130b) du dispositif de conformation intérieur ;

    la première armature (130a) du dispositif de conformation intérieur est configurée pour assurer l'interface avec la surface intérieure (110) sur un premier côté (152) de l'ouverture (122) située dans le corps d'assemblage (112) ; et

    la seconde armature (130b) du dispositif de conformation intérieur est configurée pour assurer l'interface avec la surface intérieure (110) sur un second côté (154) de l'ouverture (122) située dans le corps d'assemblage (112), ledit second côté étant espacé par rapport au premier côté (152).


     
    9. système (100) selon l'une quelconque des revendications 1 à 8, dans lequel :

    le dispositif de conformation extérieur (132) comprend une pluralité de goupilles (156) ;

    la pluralité de goupilles (156) est sélectivement rétractable par rapport à une surface d'interfaçage (158) du dispositif de conformation extérieur (132) ; et

    la pluralité de goupilles (156) est configurée pour venir au contact de la surface extérieure (134) du corps d'assemblage (112).


     
    10. système (100) selon l'une quelconque des revendications 1 à 8, dans lequel :

    le dispositif de conformation extérieur (132) comprend une première armature (132a) du dispositif de conformation extérieur et une seconde armature (132b) du dispositif de conformation extérieur ;

    la première armature (132a) du dispositif de conformation extérieur est configurée pour assurer l'interface avec la surface extérieure (134) sur un premier côté extérieur (160) de l'ouverture (122) située dans le corps d'assemblage (112) ; et

    la seconde armature (132b) du dispositif de conformation extérieur est configurée pour assurer l'interface avec la surface extérieure (134) sur un second côté extérieur (162) de l'ouverture (122) située dans le corps d'assemblage (112), ledit second côté extérieur étant espacé par rapport au premier côté extérieur (160).


     
    11. système (100) selon l'une quelconque des revendications 1 à 10, dans lequel le dispositif de conformation extérieur (132) est fixe par rapport à la surface extérieure (134) du corps d'assemblage (112).
     
    12. système (100) selon l'une quelconque des revendications 1 à 10, dans lequel le dispositif de conformation extérieur (132) est sélectivement mobile par rapport à la surface extérieure (134) du corps d'assemblage (112).
     
    13. système (100) selon l'une quelconque des revendications 1 à 12, dans lequel :

    le corps d'assemblage (112) est immobilisé sur un système de convoyeur (164) fixé au plancher (142) ; et

    le corps d'assemblage (112) est déplacé le long du système de convoyeur (164) à une fréquence d'impulsions spécifiée.


     
    14. Procédé (300) pour positionner un sous-ensemble pour installation, le procédé (300) comprenant le fait :

    de placer (302) un sous-ensemble (101) sur un support de sous-ensemble (106), le support de sous-ensemble (106) étant positionné au-dessus d'une base (104) d'un outil (102) et monté de façon pivotante au niveau d'un axe de pivotement (108) par rapport à la base (104) ;

    d'activer (304) au moins un actionneur (114) fixé sur le support de sous-ensemble (106) et sur la base (104), afin d'incliner une première surface (120) du support de sous-ensemble (106) le long de l'axe de pivotement (108), le support de sous-ensemble (106) s'inclinant vers une ouverture (122) située dans le corps d'assemblage (112) ;

    d'engager (306) un dispositif de conformation intérieur (130) fixé sur l'outil (102), afin d'assurer l'interface avec une surface intérieure (110) du corps d'assemblage (112) ; et

    d'engager (308) un dispositif de conformation extérieur (132) adjacent à une surface extérieure (134) du corps d'assemblage (112), afin d'assurer l'interface avec la surface extérieure (134) du corps d'assemblage (112).


     
    15. Procédé (300) selon la revendication 14, comprenant en outre le fait :

    de régler une roue d'ajustement (103) sur le support de sous-ensemble (106), afin d'amener la première surface (120) du support de sous-ensemble (106) dans une position d'installation (128) adjacente à l'ouverture (122) située dans le corps d'assemblage (112) ;

    d'installer le support de sous-ensemble (106) par rapport à l'ouverture (122) située dans le corps d'assemblage (112) ; et

    d'activer l'au moins un actionneur (114) pour faire pivoter la première surface (120) du support de sous-ensemble (106) à distance de l'ouverture (122) située dans le corps d'assemblage (112), afin de baisser le support de sous-ensemble (106) jusqu'à une position de chargement (126).


     




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    Cited references

    REFERENCES CITED IN THE DESCRIPTION



    This list of references cited by the applicant is for the reader's convenience only. It does not form part of the European patent document. Even though great care has been taken in compiling the references, errors or omissions cannot be excluded and the EPO disclaims all liability in this regard.

    Patent documents cited in the description