PKM in Aerospace Structures

Updated: 2008/9/30



      Boeing was the first user of a PKM machine in machining and this machine has been in full production, three shifts, since 1996 and is still producing floor beams for the Boeing 727 and 737 with top quality. In 1999 Boeing also purchased the first bigger PKM machine built to produce the heavier floor beams for the Boeing 767 and 747. This machine has been in production three shifts since it was installed and has been awarded for the quality of the parts produced as well as for the uptime over the years.



      Airbus has been using PKM machines since a couple of years back. The applications are mainly drilling and trimming and this is performed on large structural aero plane parts where the PKM machines are mounted horizontally on rails going parallel with the parts. While moving along the parts the machine performs an area by area probing sequence to guarantee that the machine coordinate system correlates with the part coordinate system before machining (agile machining). In one case a PKM machines drilled a couple of thousand of holes in eight hours that used to take eight weeks.



      Another area of successful use of a PKM machine is the trimming and drilling of sixty three different composite parts for the JSF fighter. One machine must be capable of machining all different parts, one after the other, in one sequence, for one plane, unmanned. To accomplish this, the customer attached a high level automatic storage system that automatically changed the pallet in the machine sixty three times in a row before the operator has to interfere.