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C-130 Wing Mill

The “Wing Mill” began operations in June 2001 and is still in operation today. It is a mobile milling machine that creates the attachment surface between the “center wing” that runs through the fuselage of the C-130 Hercules and the left and right wings. First, an operator makes 28 measurements with a digital depth gage that ports data into a Palm computer. Software written by DSC for the Palm then calculates the most optimum surface thickness and plane based on how the tolerances have accumulated to the wing root. The 4 corners are cut to create this plane, and the Wing Mill then creates that plane across the full wing.

The Wing Mill is a mobile milling machine designed specifically for this application. It has an inner floating frame that easily moves with the fingertips with no more than a pound of force, in 6 degrees of freedom. It attaches to the corners of the wing in a few seconds and takes less than four minutes to cut the wing. In late 2002 Lockheed had DSC design and integrate an inspection system that uses a laser to verify the surface quality. Initially the system was only designed to work on the center wing. In mid-2004 DSC completed upgrades requested by Lockheed to add the ability to also cut the left and right wings as well.
 
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