Two MAG Installations Ordered by Lockheed Martin

June 10, 2010
Automated drill/trim systems will perform precision machining in F-35 Lightning II work cell.

The MAG AutoDrill system will perform precision drilling and complex trimming operations on composite materials, aluminum, and titanium for the F-35 Lightning II's centerwing assembly.

MAG Industrial Automation Systems reports a new, approximately $7-million order from Lockheed Martin for two 6-axis, CNC-controlled AutoDrill systems. The precision automated drilling and trimming systems will be installed at the aerospace manufacturer's Marietta, GA, plant, with delivery set for the first quarter of 2011.

The turnkey order and includes installation, startup, and training.

"The MAG AutoDrill solution will provide Lockheed Martin excellent value while achieving repeatable, exceptionally accurate machining of premium aircraft components," stated Chip Storie, MAG executive vice president, Aerospace. "By the time this complex assembly, which is the core of the F-35, reaches the AutoDrill system, the value of the assembly is in the millions of dollars. Lockheed Martin continues to trust MAG to deliver AutoDrill systems to perform high-accuracy, delicate operations on these very high value assemblies."

The installations will use a surface-detecting pressure foot to drill and countersink thousands of fastener holes through complex contoured surfaces comprised of stacked composite materials, aluminum, and titanium for the F-35 Lightning II stealth fighter's center wing assembly.

MAG reports these are the fourth and fifth MAG AutoDrill systems it has sold to Lockheed. Three previous installations are at the company's Fort Worth, TX, plant.

The newest drilling systems include an upgraded 24,000-rpm spindle and new MAG head with integral vacuum ducting and no external hoses or wires. The head design supports porting of hoses, wires and cables through the head, versus external porting, to avoid interference during operation.

As a core element of Lockheed’s center wing work cell, the AutoDrill systems are designed for continuous operation at 100 percent duty cycle for three shifts per day. The systems are designed to be ergonomically friendly, and emphasize accessibility and maintainability of components. MAG is supplying its Freedom eLog software with an event-log tracking tool to assist production engineering and maintenance.

Also, MAG will provide the AutoDrill systems with volumetric error compensation (VEC) capability to improve the positional accuracy of the drilled holes. VEC analyzes and corrects positioning errors in all machine-tool axes simultaneously for unprecedented machining accuracies on large parts. According to MAG, it was developed to improve machining accuracies for large, 5-axis machine tools by 50 percent or more.

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