VOL. 1 December ISSUE YEAR 2000
in Vol. 1 - December Issue - Year 2000
Shot Peening: Process Automation for the Aircraft Industry
Peen forming of an Ariane 5 tank bulkhead segment
On-line documentation of all significant process parameter
KSA Kugelstrahlzentrum Aachen GmbH, a German job shop and engineering company for shot peening, developed its automated shot peening process over the past eight years within its lead project: The manufacturing of tank segments for the European Rockets Ariane 4 and Ariane 5 (refer to Metal Finishing News, Vol 1, for more information).
What are the requirements manufacturing engineers expect today:
These are cost efficient processes which are controllable and reproducible instead of trial-and-error-methods. Hand peening devices are considered outdated and lead to a high operator dependency. State-of-the-art automated processes should support the peen forming of complex, integrally stiffened metal structures which today are commonly used in the aircraft industry in order to reduce joints/fasteners while saving weight and finally assembling costs.
High flexibility with no limitation to panels' size, improved material properties and shots as an economic manufacturing medium ('shot as a tool') are the major advantages of peen forming in general.
What is the specific expertise for KSA-Controlled Shot Peening:
The job shop consistently works on a 7-axes CNC-controlled shot peening facilities with on-line documentation of all significant peening parameters including shot velocity and shot coverage. The process is fully visualised. The company manufactures complex, multiple-curved and also integral stringer-stiffened metal structures by avoiding manual processing to a great extent. The German job shop is certified as aeronautic and aerospace supplier (BDLI-QSF/B, EN 29002).
The industrially proven technology contributes largely to automated shot peening: For the first time, production managers will have a complete documentation of the shot peening process and material influences. The forming process is 'frozen', i.e. no manual intervention necessary, and computer-controlled, preventing any mistakes in the production cycle. Peening data for each part is stored on a diskette/CD-rom, i.e. no operator dependence anymore. Data acquisition for a new contour is eased with total elimination of rejects.
Facts and figures:
The workshop operates two high precision 7-axes CNC peening facilities, which comprise a continuous pressure peening system with a nozzle for shot with a maximum diameter of 4,0 mm and a combined injector-gravitation-peening system for shot up to 10 mm. The machines are suitable for components up to a maximum size of 6.000 x 3.000 x 1.500 mm (length x width x height). The position accuracy is ± 0,1 mm for the x, y and z axes and ± 0,1 degrees for possible rotary and slewing motion of the nozzle (v and w axes). Work piece feed and removal are done by means of a rail transporter carrying a rotary table (C-axis) and a optional slewing device (A-axis). By now, 500 Airbus side shells and more than 600 Ariane tank segments have been successfully formed in Aachen. One of the two facilities will be tuned up early in 2001 with two 7-axes robots and an integrated 3D-contour measurement device for simultaneous double-sided shot peening.
Unique Customer Benefits: Only KSA-Controlled Shot Peening provides on-line documentation and analysis of all significant control and peening data. The customer benefits are reproducible quality, improved material properties, wide range of geometries without tool-setting, higher productivity as well as reduced r&d, production times and costs. The KSA-Controlled Shot Peening has proven successfull in serial production of aeronautic parts.
The company's services to support the customer in a way that he is able to gain maximum benefit from KSA's know-how and expertise are: Engineering services (development support, certification, process automation and implementation), system integration of custom-made HW- and SW-solutions and last but not least sub-contracting for serial production.