The F-35 has taken full advantage of the digital thread philosophy that commenced more than a decade ago when the program set off on its ambitious goal to create highly common aircraft for the Navy, Air Force, and Marines as well as our international partners on a single, flow to takt assembly line. The digital thread weaves together advanced manufacturing technologies such as laser measurement, automated drilling, robotics, non-contact metrology, and graphical work instructions into an overall manufacturing approach designed to reduce assembly costs and improve assembly quality. The current applications of digital thread technologies on F-35 will be discussed as well as well as opportunities for improvements in the future which will continue to reduce costs as the F-35 enters rate production between now and 2021.
- The status of the F-35 Program and how it has prepared itself for rate production using digital thread technologies
- The connections between 3D model based engineering and advanced manufacturing technologies and how the models must be developed to allow the consumption by downstream functions
- The current applications for digital thread technologies and the potential for future applications to reduce costs and improve quality