Automated guided vehicles for commercial aircraft manufacturing industry
Document typeMaster thesis
Rights accessOpen Access
The automation level of the commercial aircraft manufacturing industry is growing every day. Its manufacturing procedures are changing due to the wide introduction of carbon fibre reinforced polymers and to the aim of achieving higher productivity with less waste according to lean manufacturing. For this reason, it is necessary to reduce and optimize all the operations that add no value to the production process. Automated Guided Vehicles (AGVs) are an alternative to such optimization of operations. They will play a key role in the following decades inside commercial airplane production factories, assuming the logistics of all types of material, from small bolts to large airplane assemblies. In order to move large airplane assemblies it is necessary to design vehicles with high manoeuvrability, different than the industrial AGVs currently used in intralogistics. The aim of this Master Thesis is to find which are the most adequate designs of AGVs in order to use them in the aerospace industry. The AGVs currently working in the industry have been studied and their kinematic constrains have been analysed. We realized that the AGVs currently in use do not satisfy the application demands on mobility and flexibility. Their wheel arrangements are very simple and the vehicles are not omnidirectional. It is necessary to find new wheel arrangements that allow the design of AGVs capable to move in any direction and rotate from any point. The Swedish wheels have rollers attached to the wheel perimeter that add an extra degree of freedom to the wheel and allow the vehicles to move omnidirectionally. In this Master Thesis we propose a range of AGV configurations with omnidirectional manoeuvrability. Some of these designs have already been developed at the firm Aritex. We present empirical evaluation and experiences of their use in the aircraft manufacture industry. As a conclusion, it is expected that in the near future, the technology of AGVs with Swedish wheels will be widely present in the factories of commercial aircrafts.