Lockheed goes with common interface for F-35 painting

  • 14-Apr-2011 03:11 EDT
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For the F-35 Lightning II, Lockheed Martin uses simulations via DELMIA to verify that the robots will reach all painting positions and will avoid collisions between the robots and nearby equipment.

Lockheed Martin has migrated its robotic painting work cells to a new system that is better integrated with its engineering design system for the F-35 Lightning II.

Specifically, Lockheed Martin has selected Dassault Systèmes’ DELMIA Robotics. A long-time user of DELMIA manufacturing simulation solutions, Lockheed’s new implementation for the F-35 has made the company’s manufacturing processes more efficient by leveraging a common interface across its CATIA design authoring and DELMIA digital manufacturing solutions.

Lockheed Martin uses simulations via DELMIA to verify that the robots will reach all the painting positions and avoid any collisions. Automating the paint and coatings process provides significant time savings, as well as better process control, Dassault Systèmes says. Protecting workers from potentially harmful paint fumes is an added benefit of robots. The company had already experienced success with the previous generation of DELMIA Robotics simulation.

Since they are already familiar with the CATIA interface, Lockheed Martin NC programmers easily move into robot support roles, pick up the software, and produce programs.

Lockheed Martin currently employs the robotic solution in two different automated paint cells, both configured on moving rail systems. A three-robot cell is dedicated to painting the aircraft exterior and a two-robot cell is configured to handle a variety of F-35 components. Both the physical cell and the robot programming have been designed for flexibility through optimization and verification of the programs in the virtual DELMIA environment so that the company can paint different mixes of components at different times.

Enhancements within the DELMIA Cenit FASTSURF solution make it easier to modify existing robot programs for significant time gains, according to Dassault Systèmes. Previous solutions required extensive rework any time a component design changed. Now with FASTSURF, adapting to a part change can be as simple as plugging a new parameter in the setup strategy. Additionally, the solution allows Lockheed Martin to monitor the thickness of coatings—a critical factor in ensuring that aircraft meet design requirements—through a query option at any point in the application.

“Lockheed Martin was quick to understand the benefits to be gained by having all engineers working with the same user interface paradigm across CATIA and DELMIA solutions,” said Steve Milliren, Executive Account Manager, Aerospace Industry, DELMIA, Dassault Systèmes. “With the DELMIA Robotics solution, there is a common structure for easy communication and elimination of data translations for improved data integrity.”

In addition to the DELMIA Robotics solution, Lockheed Martin also uses Dassault Systèmes’ Virtual Ergonomics and DPM Assembly solutions.

Lockheed Martin says that robotic solution works with a first-of-its-kind advanced laser system used to apply the aircraft’s stealth coating, making the paint shop one of the most advanced in the .

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