Being more than a machine tool builder, MAG recently developed a new system for Boeing Commercial Airplanes’ manufacturing operation in North Charleston, S.C., that automatically exchanges a fresh cut/clamp/restart (CCR) unit on fiber placement machines whenever necessary, eliminating downtime and allowing the machines to maintain full production rates virtually uninterrupted.

Boeing South Carolina fabricates, assembles, and installs systems for aft (rear) fuselage sections of the Boeing 787 Dreamliner, and joins and integrates midbody fuselage sections. The 240-acre operation also undertakes final assembly and delivery services for 787s.

Recently Boeing purchased a new MAG Viper 6000 Automated Fiber Placement system for the North Charleston operation, to produce carbon-fiber structures for the fuselage sections.

The CCR changing system will allow Boeing to handle offline servicing of contaminated end effectors used in the AFP process, increasing the production availability of new or existing machines dramatically. MAG estimated the system would yield higher machine utilization and a significant time savings on part production by minimizing interruption of part layup..

“We expect the interchangeable cut/clamp/restart (CCR) system to be an important factor in helping Boeing fulfill its plans for increasing production rates at the South Carolina facility,” explained MAG Composites’ Robert Harper, director-technical sales. “The Viper 6000s have delivered highly reliable layup for fuselage sections … The interchangeable CCR module will maximize the machines’ efficiency and throughput, particularly when fabricating these large parts.”