Variation Reduction Solutions, Inc. Selects Dassault Systèmes’ DELMIA Robotics for F-35 JSF Project
Automated System Being Developed for Inlet Duct Drilling
Auburn Hills, Mich., USA, July 2, 2008 – Dassault Systèmes (Nasdaq: DASTY; Euronext Paris: #13065, DSY.PA), a world leader in 3D and Product Lifecycle Management (PLM), announced today that Variation Reduction Solutions, Inc. (VRSI) has selected DELMIA robotics solution for use in the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) Guided Robots and Robotic Applications in Confined Spaces project. VRSI has received an AFRL Small Business Innovative Research grant to develop a vision-guided automated solution for drilling inlet ducts in the F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) center fuselage, being manufactured by Northrop Grumman Corporation.
Currently, the air inlet duct is integrated with the fuselage by attaching aluminum frames to the composite duct via mechanical fasteners. Each duct is about nine feet long, yet only 20 inches in internal diameter. Despite the ergonomically challenging space constraints, the operation is done manually and requires the drilling and countersinking of 800 holes per duct.
“The DELMIA robotics simulation solution will allow us to produce feasibility studies to determine how many of the holes the robot arm can reach,” said Brett Bordyn, director of technical development, VRSI. “Without this simulation tool, we would not be able to properly configure and program a robot to handle such a difficult process.”
Bordyn explained that each of the 800 drilling points has a unique safe-radius area and that the DELMIA solution allows VRSI to create multiple collision and near-miss queues to ensure collision free robot trajectories within the confined duct space. It is expected that the automated drilling solution will reduce the frame attachment process flow time by 50 percent.
Working with TechniGraphics, a global PLM services provider and a DELMIA channel partner, VRSI selected the DELMIA robotics solution for its cable simulation, GSL script language, and offline programming capabilities, which save significant production floor programming time. DELMIA has also been contracted to provide the necessary on-site training.
“We are excited to be a part of the Joint Strike Fighter program,” said James Cleveland, vice president and general manager of PLM at TechniGraphics. “Driving innovation in the aerospace industry through PLM solutions is one of the hallmarks of our partnership with Dassault Systemes. We support their cutting-edge software and by performing legacy CAD conversions, our customers can utilize their entire engineering repository within modern design environments.”
The prototype system, expected to be delivered mid-2008, will rely upon a vision-guided Fanuc Series 2000/125L robot to enter the narrow duct opening. A laser tracking system will then help locate the correct positioning within a very narrow tolerance of each hole in order to perform the robotic drilling operation. A laser inspection process is then performed to evaluate the quality of each hole.
Over the following year, the prototype will then be developed into a production inlet duct robotic drilling system. It is anticipated to receive shop floor certification in the summer of 2009 and be complete by end of 2009 for use in the aircraft build.
Variation Reduction Services, Inc., (Plymouth, Mich.) specializes in reducing variation, improving quality, and in turn minimizing the costs associated with manufacturing errors in automotive and aerospace assembly plants. Using advanced technologies, VRSI integrates 2D and 3D measurement systems for applications in dimensional gauging, surface scanning, error proofing, and robotic guidance. For more information, visit vrs-inc.com.
TechniGraphics is a world-class information technology company headquartered in Wooster, Ohio, with offices across the United States, Europe, and India. As a leader in Product Lifecycle Management (PLM), TechniGraphics strives to help its customers cut costs and drive innovation through visualization and simulation of products, processes, and environments. The company focuses on being a trusted advisor in your PLM transformation efforts. This includes software implementation, design automation, CAD format conversion, diverse training programs, and multi-national support in the deployment of the Dassault Systemes Product Lifecycle Management suite of products. For more information please visit
About Dassault Systèmes
As a world leader in 3D and Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) solutions, Dassault Systèmes brings value to more than 100,000 customers in 80 countries. A pioneer in the 3D software market since 1981, Dassault Systèmes develops and markets PLM application software and services that support industrial processes and provide a 3D vision of the entire lifecycle of products from conception to maintenance. The Dassault Systèmes portfolio consists of CATIA for designing the virtual product - SolidWorks for 3D mechanical design - DELMIA for virtual production - SIMULIA for virtual testing - ENOVIA for global collaborative lifecycle management, and 3DVIA for online 3D lifelike experiences. Dassault Systèmes is listed on the Nasdaq (DASTY) and Euronext Paris (#13065, DSY.PA) stock exchanges. For more information, visit
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