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Prodtex Ltd, a specialist in manufacturing processes, tooling and fixturing, is presenting its work on LOCOMACHS, one of the largest aerospace assembly projects in the world.

SME leads reconfigurable tooling & simulation in €33m EU aerospace project

Prodtex Ltd, a specialist in manufacturing processes, tooling and fixturing, will present its work on LOCOMACHS, one of the largest aerospace assembly projects in the world, at the Manufacturing Technology Centre on the 16th of June.

Prodtex Ltd, the Bristol-based subsidiary of Prodtex in Sweden, played a key role in two of the work packages of the €33m LOCOMACHS programme:

1. To design and build a fixture for the Lean Assembly Wing Box demonstrator (so called LAWiB);

2. To create a virtual full scale assembly line to build wings in a leaner, quicker and more cost effective manner, utilising the company's 3D modelling, robotics and assembly line expertise.

The fixture work employs the patent-protected, steel-based Boxjoint reconfigurable tooling. With the Manufacturing Technology Centre (MTC) in Coventry, Prodtex designed and built robots to insert the spar directly into the LAWiB, the first time this has been achieved;

Peter Helgosson, director of Prodtex UK, said: “It is fantastic to finally see the results of years of working with the most innovative minds in the European aerospace industry come to fruition. We were able to successfully build up the factory of the future virtually and to physically test many processes and hardware.”

Magnus Engström, technical director of LOCOMACHS and project leader at Saab Aeronautics, commented: “There are several benefits of designing a virtual factory. Visibility of physical flow and work environment for operators highlight details which are easy to miss in a static 2D-drawing; for example, physical accessibility, working postures and material handling.”

Andy Silcox, the MTC's Technical Specialist (Assembly Systems) said: “The Prodtex range of innovative tooling solutions delivers the ability to rapidly re-configure tools and fixtures to adapt to multiple products, fluctuating build rates and variability in the condition of supply of sub component parts. This offers huge potential to increase the efficiency of assembly operations.”

The Advanced Aerostructure Technology Forum 2016 will take place at Lloyds Bank Advanced Manufacturing Training Centre on the MTC's campus in Coventry on Thursday 16th June 2016.

This one-day conference marks the final dissemination event for the ground-breaking LOCOMACHS project and presents an exciting opportunity for attendees to see the results of the project through key presentations from leading partners and innovative live demonstrations.

LOCOMACHS (LOw COst Manufacturing and Assembly of Composite and Hybrid Structures) is a collaborative research and development project coordinated by SAAB AB, assembling 31 partners including the key European players in the aircraft industry.

Faster and more cost efficient assembly of composite structural parts is a key enabler to high rate production. The LOCOMACHS objectives are to combine existing and innovative technologies to remove non-added value operations, which are time consuming and induce recurring costs, within composite production lines.

The research on LOCOMACHS has received funding from the European Union's Seventh Framework Programme (FP7/2007-2013) under grant agreement n°314003.

Press release issued by Prodtex Limited on May 24, 2016


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Prodtex Limited Robotics & Automation Consultants
Saab Aerosystems Airframer


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