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F-22 Fuselage Mate System
The total delivered system includes 110 axes of servo controlled motion and 16 DVT smart camera's as part of this vision guided alignment system. DSC began the design of this vision alignment system in September 2001. Lockheed assembled the first aircraft on it in June 2002. A total of 15 skates (5 sets of 3) were delivered in three phases, with the final phase coming on-line in 2005.
The system consists of three “skates” at each of 4 stations. The skates support the three fuselage sections – the forward built in Marietta, the mid built in Fort Worth, and the aft built by Boeing in Seattle. The alignment requires very high precision in six degrees of freedom across 4 large surfaces on two separate bodies simultaneously.
Measurement accuracy is 0.0002 inches with the vision system, and the moves are set to make 0.001 inch sets manually, but can make moves down to 0.0002 inches in automatic mode. This system significantly reduced the span time and personnel required to align and mate the fuselage and improved the quality of the mate over the original manual align & mate system that was built for the development phase.
This program had numerous milestone objectives through the development and build phases, all of which were met on time and on budget by DSC. The system came on-line and built the first ship, one ship ahead of Lockheed’s need-date.