Boeing chooses Deneb’s Digital Manufacturing Solutions to reduce production time and errors on its new C-17 Globemaster aircraft

Deneb/IGRIP(R) from Deneb Robotics, a Dassault Systemes (Nasdaq : DASTY) company, has been chosen by the Boeing Company Airlift and Tanker Programs in Long Beach, California, for Digital Manufacturing applications on one of the world’s largest pieces of robotic machinery: a Brotje riveting machine.

Troy, Michigan (United States), November 10, 1999--The Brotje was installed in 1998, and is now used in the production of the fuselage of the U.S. Air Force C-17 Globemaster III. According to Boeing, the original Brotje programs would have taken four to five times longer to create without Deneb/IGRIP.

"Deneb/IGRIP is used to simulate all the Brotje riveters’ motion and functionality including automatic tool changing," states Robert Dale, NC Programming Manager, C-17 Programs. "Deneb/IGRIP is also used to check for potential collisions."

The Off-Line-Programming (OLP) environment at Boeing Long Beach consists of Deneb/IGRIP. Boeing leveraged the robust, open architecture of Deneb/IGRIP to write their own custom application program within the software.

In addition, Deneb/Virtual NC(R) is used to program the new Electro Impact spar riveter installed in July 1998. Virtual NC emulates machine tools, controllers and material removal operations to validate production programs, processes, and tooling setups offline.

"The kinematic model and post-processor Deneb ‘Mimic’ file (used to emulate NC controls) was created in six weeks by one of Boeing’s programmers," adds Robert Dale.

Deneb/IGRIP, a robotic simulation software that incorporates real-world robotic and peripheral equipment, motion attributes, kinematics, dynamics and I/O logic, was originally selected by the Boeing Military Aircraft and Missile Systems Group in St. Louis (formerly McDonnell Douglas). Engineers there chose Deneb after in-depth comparisons with other simulation systems. At Long Beach, similar comparisons were performed with an eye toward the differences between Long Beach and St. Louis aircraft, and the fact that the C-17 is so much larger then fighter aircraft. Brotje had already committed to use IGRIP for its own simulations, and that helped Boeing Airlift and Tanker Programs in Long Beach, which is known as the Long Beach division.

Deneb/IGRIP gives programmers the ability to preview the execution of their program in the digital environment instead of taking the actual machine out of production for program prove out. Machine operators know that no holes will go undrilled and unriveted, that the proper fasteners will always be used and that the programs won’t try to insert more than one fastener in a hole. This means that neither the equipment nor the fuselage panels will be damaged as long as the model accurately represents the actual system configuration.

"We are very pleased to see the successful use of Deneb/IGRIP as the common user interface and off-line programming tool for the Brotje as well as additional automated assembly machines from different manufacturers in the Long Beach facility" says Bob Brown, President of Deneb Robotics. "We found that even when new to these systems, and with no experience in this kind of programming, operators were able to make usable programs very quickly. It would have been extremely difficult to program the 11 different axis's of motion on the Brotje without Deneb/IGRIP."

Now, Boeing is building on this success by extending Deneb/IGRIP simulation to the riveting of the assembly, which joins the fuselage bulkheads to the cargo floor. And, of course, the Brotje could be used to build fuselages for any wide-body aircraft. It is by no means limited to the C-17.

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