Marietta, GA—When tooling engineers at Lockheed Martin paint the engine air inlets in the mid-fuselage section of the U.S. Air Force's F-22 fighter planes, they must carefully position the curved compartments so robots can apply the precise amount of paint. "We used to have the mid-fuselage paint fixture up on air pads. This was a hassle when we turned the mid-fuselage section 180 degrees," says Bob Nadeau, tool engineer at Lockheed Martin. "We'd have to gather a crew together every time a section needed rotating."
Rotary tables spin the F-22's 20-ft long mid-section 180 degrees for painting the engine's air inlets. Data feed, power, and controller wires run up through the center of the table.
Lockheed Martin engineers knew they wanted to simplify the procedure, so they incorporated an AccuRing Model 720 rotary table from Centricity (Girard, OH) into the painting process. "We wanted to just push a button and have it move precisely," says Nadeau.
The AccuRing Model 720 includes a digital drive motor, controller, amplifier, power supplies, cables, and software. Its patented zero-backlash drive system produces motion control repeatability within .001 inch.
The motion control digital motors and drives are programmable. They control acceleration, deceleration, speed, dwell time, and direction of the rectangular table's 96 × 108-inch ring.
Lockheed Martin tool engineers are considering using a similar, but much larger, table in assembly operations for the F-22's vertical stabilizers.
For more information about rotary tables from Centricity: Enter 539