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Aircraft Engine Cowling Insert Perforator Machine

Aircraft Engine Cowling Insert Perforator


The challenge was to craft a perforated shell, used as an insert to an engine cowling. Sensors and 3D models helped to direct the path of a large rubberized wheel so that a composite material could be pressed onto a figure resembling the outer geometry of one-half of an aircraft engine.


A custom-designed six axis gantry style manipulator based on a CNC controls architecture was developed. The process begins by placing a lay-up fixture within the manipulator’s work envelope. Electric actuators hold the fixture in place. An operator manually directs a fixture position discovery cycle where the machine uses touch probe type sensing to locate two removable probing cups. Probe datum information coupled with CAD data precisely defines the fixture’s position in the workspace.

Composite material is draped over the fixture and the auto cycle begins. The apply wheel is lowered and guided across the outside of the fixture. Surface trajectories are supplied by post processing NC code and passing the information through a CAD data translator. The translator turns the data into the CNC controller’s native instruction format, G-codes.

outcomes and benefits

• Fixed kinematic relationships are used to calculate a tooling center point based coordinate system
• A force sensing transducer supplies real-time reactionary data directly into a trajectory planner, which in turn controls each servo axis with a reactionary Z position offset
• Split axis servo control on X and Z
• To protect the fixture, four height sensors are used to monitor tool tip orthogonality
• Direction based heater control
Craft Aircraft Engine Parts with the Help of Sensors and 3D Models
Aerospace & Defense
Technical Capabilities
Assembly Solutions Dispense Applications Software & Data Integration
Door Hinge Robots 2


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