Robotic applications in aerospace manufacturing and aircraft assembly today are limited. This is because most of the aircraft parts are relatively crowded and have complex shapes that make tasks like robotic drilling and fastening more challenging. These challenges include tool accessibility, path, and motion planning. In this paper, a process methodology was developed to overcome the tool accessibility challenges facing robotic drilling and riveting for aircraft parts that are located in crowded work environments. First, the tool accessibility was analyzed based on the global accessibility area (GAA) and the global accessibility volume (GAV) to determine the accessible boundaries for parts with zero, one, and two surfaces curvatures. Then, the path for the tool was generated while taking in consideration the approachability planning. This approach generates a number of intermediate points that enable the tool to maneuver around obstacles to reach the final target points if they are accessible. Last, a software application was developed to simulate the drilling and riveting tasks, and to validate the proposed process. The results of the simulation confirmed the proposed methodology and provided a numerical feedback describing the level of crowdedness of the work environment. The accessibility percentage can then be used by the design team to reduce the design complexity and increase the level of tool accessibility.

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