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Title:
INSERT FOR A COMPOSITE STRUCTURE
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2018/178193
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
The invention is directed to an insert (100) that comprises a base (110) and an outer skirt (120) which extends from the base (110), thereby forming a chamber (101). The outer skirt (120) is provided with a first inner skirt surface (123) and a first outer skirt surface (124). According to the present invention at least one fixation means (180) is arranged at the first outer ski rt surface (124) and configured to interact with a (panel 200) when inserted in an opening (212) of the panel (200) in order to increase initial insert stability.

Inventors:
NÄGELI, Dominik (Julie-Bikle-Strasse 31, 8406 Winterthur, 8406, CH)
Application Number:
EP2018/058001
Publication Date:
October 04, 2018
Filing Date:
March 28, 2018
Export Citation:
Click for automatic bibliography generation   Help
Assignee:
RUAG SCHWEIZ AG (Seetalstrasse 175, 6032 Emmen, 6032, CH)
International Classes:
F16B5/01; F16B2/00; F16B13/14; F16B37/04
Domestic Patent References:
WO2014146740A12014-09-25
WO2016102305A12016-06-30
WO2008124353A12008-10-16
WO2014060027A12014-04-24
WO2014146739A12014-09-25
WO2014146740A12014-09-25
Foreign References:
DE102007021341A12008-11-13
US20020050105A12002-05-02
US3485282A1969-12-23
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
RENTSCH PARTNER AG (Bellerivestrasse 203, Postfach, 8034 Zürich, 8034, CH)
Download PDF:
Claims:
CLAIMS

1. An Insert ( 100) comprising a. a base (110) and b. an outer skirt (120) extending from i. the base (110), thereby forming a chamber (101) ii. said outer skirt (120) being provided with a first inner skirt surface ( 123) and a first outer skirt surface ( 124); and c. at least one fixation means (180) arranged at the first outer skirt surface (124) and configured to interact with a panel (200) when inserted in an opening (212) of the panel (200) in order to increase initial insert stability.

2. The insert ( 100) according to claim 1 , wherein the fixation means ( 180) is arranged at the region of the outer skirt ( 120) which is adjacent to the base (110).

3. The insert ( 100) according to any of the preceding claim, wherein the fixation means ( 180) comprises at least one thickening (181) which at least partially protrudes from the first outer skirt surface ( 124).

4. The insert ( 1 00) according to claim 3, wherein multiple thickenings ( 1 81 ) are arranged circumferentially distributed around the outer skirt surface ( 1 24).

5. The insert ( 1 00) according to claim any of the preceding claims, wherein the fixation means ( 1 80) comprises at least one recess ( 1 82 ) .

6. The insert ( 1 00) according to claim 5, wherein the recess extends in circumferential direction around the first outer skirt surface ( 1 24) .

7. The insert ( 1 00) according to any of the preceding claims, wherein the fixation means ( 1 80) is at least partially made from a polymer material. 8. The insert ( 1 00) according to claim 7, wherein the polymer material comprises an adhesive agent.

9. The insert ( 1 00) according to any of claims 7 and 8, wherein the polymer material is arranged as a coating layer on the first outer skirt surface ( 1 24).

10. The insert ( 1 00) according to any of the preceding claims, wherein the fixa- tion means ( 1 80) comprises a coating layer that has a friction coefficient which is higher than the friction coefficient of the non-coated part of the first outer skirt surface ( 1 24) .

11. The insert ( 100) according to any of the preceding claims, wherein at least part of the fixation means (180) is integrally made with the outer skirt ( 120).

12. The insert ( 100) according to any of the preceding claims, wherein at least part of the fixation means ( 180) is made from a different material than the outer skirt (120).

13. The insert (100) according to any of the preceding claims, wherein at least one first groove ( 125) is arranged at the first outer skirt surface ( 124) closer to the free end (121) of the outer skirt ( 120) than to the base end of the outer skirt (120) which is arranged at the base (110). 14. The insert (100) according to any of the preceding claims, wherein the at least one outer skirt (120) comprises at least one slot ( 140) arranged at the free end (121) of the outer skirt (120) and extending from the inner skirt surface (123) to the outer skirt surface (124).

15. The insert (100) according to claim 14, wherein multiple slots ( 140) are ar- ranged circumferentially distributed around the outer skirt surface ( 124).

16. The insert (100) according to any of the preceding claims, wherein the insert (100) comprises an inner skirt (130) that extends from the base (110) and is arranged in the chamber (101) and spaced apart a distance from the outer skirt (120).

17. The insert ( 100) according to any of claims 15 to 16, wherein the portions (150) of the outer skirt (120) arranged between the multiple slots (140) form resilient tongues.

An Insert system (1 ), comprising a. a panel (200) comprising i. a core structure (250) and ii. a first cover sheet (210) that at least partially covers the core structure (250); and b. an insert ( 100) according to any of claims 1 to 17 i. the insert ( 100) being mounted in an opening (212) in the panel (200).

19. The insert system ( 1 ) according to claim 18, wherein when the insert (100) is mechanically interconnected with the panel (200) by means of an interference-fit between the fixation means (180) and the first cover sheet (210).

20. The insert system (1 ) according to any of claims 18 and 19, wherein the opening (220) comprises an undercut (225) arranged beneath thefirst cover sheet (210). A working head (300) for an insert machine system (700) to process an insert ( 1 00) to be mounted in a panel ( 200), comprising a. at least one insert holding means (31 0) to bear at least one insert ( 1 00) to be mounted in the panel (200); b. at least one insert receptive port (330) configured to receive at least one insert ( 1 00) to be mounted in the panel ( 200); c. at least one guidance means (350) configured to transport an insert received at the at least one insert receptive port (330) to the at least one insert holding means (31 0) .

The working head (300) according to claim 21 , wherein the working head (300) comprises a working head carrier (360) with which the at least one insert holding means (31 0) and the at least one insert receptive port (330) and the at least one guidance means (350) are mechanically interconnected.

The working head (300) according to claim 22, wherein the working head carrier (360) comprises a mechanical coupling means configured to mechanically interconnect the working head carrier (360) with a mating coupling means of an actuator (730, 735) of a machine system (700) in a detachable manner.

24. The working head (300) according to any of claims 21 to 23, wherein the working head (300) comprises an adhesive dispenser unit (500) configured to provide a specified amount of adhesive agent to an opening (2 1 2 ) of a panel (200) and/or a specified amount of adhesive agent to an insert ( 1 00) to be mounted in an opening (21 2 ) of a panel ( 200).

The working head (300) according to claim 24, wherein the adhesive dispenser unit ( 500) is detachably mechanically interconnected with the working head carrier (360) .

The working head (300) according to any of claims 21 to 25, wherein the working head (300) comprises a mechanical insert coupling means (340) a. the mechanical insert coupling means (340) being configured to be mechanically interconnected with a magazine (400) containing multiple inserts ( 1 00) configured to provide inserts ( 1 00) to the at least one insert receptive port ( 330); and/or b. the mechanical insert coupling means (340) being configured to be mechanically interconnected with an insert conveying means (760) configured to provide inserts ( 1 00) to the at least one insert receptive port (330).

27. The working head (300) according to any of claims 21 to 26, wherein the working head (300) comprises at least one tool to induce an opening (21 2 ) in a panel ( 200) an insert ( 1 00) is to be mounted in.

28. A magazine (400) for storing inserts ( 1 00) to be mounted in a composite panel ( 200), comprising a. at least one storage part (41 0) configured for storing multiple inserts ( 1 00) while having a specific alignment; and b. at least one mechanical coupling means (420) configured to be mechanically interconnected with a mating mechanical coupling means of a consumer device; and c. at least one insert delivery port (430) configured to deliver an insert ( 1 00) from the storage part (41 0) to an insert receptive port (330) of a consumer device such that the insert ( 1 00) has a specified alignment.

The magazine (400) according to claim 28, wherein the magazine (400) comprises a biasing means inside the storage part (41 0) for supporting the transfer of the inserts ( 1 00) from the storage part (41 0) through the delivery port (430) into an insert receptive port (330) of a consumer device.

30. An adhesive dispenser unit ( 500) for dispensing an adhesive agent comprising a. an adhesive dispenser carrier (51 0) comprising i. a mechanical interconnection interface to mechanically interconnect the adhesive dispenser unit ( 500) with a working head carrier (360); and b. at least one first fluidic port (530) configured to be fluidically inter- connected with a source of a first adhesive agent; and c. at least one nozzle ( 530) to dispense the first adhesive agent.

31. A machine system (700) for producing an insert system ( 1 ), comprising a. a holding device (71 0) for holding a panel (200); and b. a first working head (300) displaceable with respect to the panel (200) and configured to receive an insertion tool (3 1 0) displaceable with respect to the panel (200) and configured to support an insert ( 1 00) to be inserted in the panel ( 200).

32. The machine system (700) according to claim 3 1 , wherein the first working head (300) is arranged at a first actuator (730) .

The machine system (700) according to claim 32, wherein the first actuator (730) is a bridge of a CNC-router or is a robotic arm.

34. The machine system (700) according to any of claims 31 to 33, wherein the machine system (700) comprises a second working head (300') that is arranged at a second actuator ( 735) and is displaceable with respect to the first working head (300).

35. The machine system (700) according to claim 34, wherein the second actuator (735) is the bridge of a CNC-router or is a robotic arm.

36. The machine system (700) according to claim 34 or 35, wherein the working head (300') comprises an opening tool (720) to induce an opening (2 1 2 ) into the panel ( 200).

37. The machine system (700) according to any of claims 31 to 36, wherein the first working head (300) is a working head according to any of claims 2 1 to 26.

38. The machine system (700) according to any of claims 31 to 37, wherein the working machine ( 700) comprises an adhesive dispenser unit ( 500) that is displaceable with respect to the panel (200).

39. The machine system (700) according to claim 38, wherein the adhesive dispenser unit ( 500) is mechanically interconnected with the first working head (300).

40. The machine system (700) according to any of claims 38 to 39, wherein the adhesive dispenser unit ( 500) is an adhesive dispenser unit according to claim 30.

41. The machine system (700) according to any of claims 31 to 40, wherein the machine system (700) comprises at least one fluid line (750) interconnecting the first or the second fluidic port ( 520, 540) with at least one adhesive storage tank (755 ) arranged at a distance apart from the adhesive dispenser device ( 500) and comprising an adhesive agent or at least one component of a multi-component adhesive agent. 42. The machine system (700) according to any of claims 31 to 41 , wherein the machine system (700) comprises at least one insert conveying means (760) in order to convey at least one insert ( 1 00) from a stationary insert receptive port (761 ) arranged at a distance apart from the working head (300) to the insert receptive port (330) of the working head (300) . 43. The machine system (700) according to claim 42, wherein the stationary insert receptive port (761 ) is arranged at a fixed position at a distance apart from the holding device (31 0).

44. The machine system (700) according to any of claims 42 to 43, wherein the insert conveying means (760) comprises a tube (765) in which one or multiple inserts ( 1 00) to be mounted can be conveyed.

Description:
INSERT FOR A COMPOSITE STRUCTURE

FI ELD OF TH E I NVENTION

The present invention is directed to an insert, in particular to an insert to be used in panels with core structures made from a cellular solid, such as honeycomb panels. The invention is also directed to an insert system comprising such an insert and a panel. The present invention is further directed to a method to produce such an insert system. The present invention is further directed to a machine system to produce an insert system and to a working head for such a machine system. The pre- sent invention is further directed to a magazine to store inserts and to be used for such a machine system. The present invention is further directed to an adhesive dispenser to be used for such a machine system.

BACKGROUND OF TH E INVENTION

Several types of insert systems suited for being used in panels with core structures made from cellular solids are known.

US345282 was published on 23.1 2.1 969 on behalf of Hughes Aircraft Company and shows an expandable insert for solid and cellular structures, like honeycomb constructions. The insert disclosed comprises a specific amount of expandable bonding agent that is specifically or precisely measured. In one embodiment dis- closed in US345282, the insert comprises a cylindrical casing which has a plurality of a pertu res spaced about its peri phery. An attachment as a nut is secu red centrally within the casing. Within the casing, an expa ndable bonding agent is arranged . I n order to install the insert in a cellular structu re, the insert is placed within a preformed hole in the cellular structure. After that, a catalyzing agent, namely heat, is appl ied to the insert which causes the expandable bonding agent to expand a nd th rough the apertures in the casing and hence extrude into the peri-insert cells opened by the hole in the cellula r structu re. According to the publication, the bonding means then expands until it fills completely all ruptured cells. A disadvantage of such an insert is that heat or another catalyst has to be induced which may affect the su rrounding cellular structure. As well, in order to completely fill al l ruptured cells a certain minimum volume of expandable bonding agent is needed which will stay within the case and hence adds to the total weight of the insert, although it does not contribute to fixation of the insert in the su rrounding cellular structure.

WO2016102305A1 was published on 30.06.201 6 on behalf of Alema Automa- tion and discloses a feeder mechanism for feeding mechanical fasteners, such as rivets, screws, bolts and simila r. The a pplication shows a feeder mechanism that has a transport means for transporting the mechanical fasteners preferably by pres ¬ surized air and a stopping and aligning unit with a stopping plate to decelerate transported fasteners a rranged downstream of the transport means. According to the application the transport means allows feeding of fasteners at high speed and frequencies, while the stopping and aligning unit reduces damaging of the mechanical fasteners by decelerating them with the stopping plate. WO20081 24353A1 was published on 1 6 October 2008 on behalf of The Boeing Company and discloses an a pparatus for i nstalling fasteners in a workpiece and is mounted for computer controlled movement over the workpiece. According to the application the appa ratus has all entities on-board that are needed to operate au- tonomously without external connections, including tools, fasteners, d rives and controls. As well it may include on-boa rd power supply for powering the tools, drives and controls. I n addition it comprises a supply of fasteners by means of an on-board replaceable cassette. According to the a pplication, an on-boa rd fastener transferring device transfers individual fasteners from the cassette to the tools. Therefore the a pparatus comprises a base on which a su pply of fasteners is mounted as well as means for mounting the base for movement over the surface of the workpiece. As well, at least one tool is mounted on the base for installing the fasteners in the workpiece along an installation path . I n addition, controls are mounted on the base for controlling the operation of the tool . The type of a ppa- ratus disclosed in WO20081 24353ΑΊ is intended to be used as a robot that is crawling essentially autonomously along the fuselage of ai rcraft in order to join the outer skin with the fuselage frames. The various components necessary to fulfill this task make the appa ratus relatively heavy. Consequently such an appa ratus can only work autonomously on structures that have a relatively high structural com petence or in combination with an auxilia ry device that comprises a relatively high stiffness.

WO14060027A1 , W01 1 6739A1 , WO14146740A1 have been published, which all disclose inserts for being mounted in panels using adhesives. SU M MARY OF TH E I NVENTION

Most inserts foreseen to be mounted into composite panels used in aviation have the d rawback that automated mounting is ha rdly possible due to several reasons.

A fi rst reason is that composite panels used in aviation typically comprise materials that show very special mechanical behavior and/or requi re very specific processi ng . This in pa rticular holds true for sandwich-type panels that comprise core materials made from cellular solids, such as an open-cell or closed-cell solids like e.g. foam materials or honeycomb materials. As such, a panel may e.g . comprise a core made from a plastic material or a fiber reinforced plastic material . I n panels intended to be used in aviation (e.g . for aircraft cabin flooring and interiors) , materials com ¬ prising a ramid and/or para-aramid and/or meta-a ramid fibers are widespread. As well, also the cover sheets of composite panels which may be made from the same materials (in pa rticular from aramid and/or pa ra-aramid and/or meta-ara mid ) like the core structures or from a different type of material may anticipate automated mounting of inserts. Furthermore, the composite panels as used in aviation in many cases comprise special types of coatings, including different types of varnish, glass, wood, ba mboo as well as stone a pplied as veneer. When i nserting inserts in panels made from these materials, the panels' mechanical response to the insertion process can typically only be controlled ( respectively forecasted) to a very limited ex- tent. A major reason for this is the type of material the pa nels are made from, wh ich typically show a nonlinear a nd sometimes even discontinuous mechanical response du ring mounting of an insert. Another reason that anticipates automated mounting of inserts is that most panels used in aviation a re typically thinner than most panels used e.g. in satellites. For inserts to be mou nted in e.g . sandwich panels this increases the influence of the cover sheets on insert stabil ity. As well, the spatial d imensions of the inserts applied in aviation are in many cases smaller than those of the inserts a pplied to space structu res. Consequently, in many cases the macrostructu re of the sandwich panels' core structu res is similar or at least in the same size range like the insert. This makes the mechanical response of the panel to insertion of the insert highly dependent on the insert position. Consequently, accurate positioning of inserts in many cases be- comes difficult which antagonizes automated mounting of inserts.

Conventionally, inserts a re set in a pre-produced opening in the panel and subsequently an adhesive agent is injected in the peri-i nsert region space in order to fill any free volume and hence augment the structural stability of the insert-panel structure. However, such injection of adhesive agent usua lly results in the adhesive agent contacting both cover sheets of a sandwich panel . This may affect the optical appea rance of the panel in particula r in two ways. First, adherence of the adhesive agent to a cover sheet may induce a change in color of the cover sheet, respectively of a coating (e.g. varnish ) of a cover sheet. Second , injection of the adhesive agent may cause the cover sheet to bu lge or alternatively the adhesive agent may sh rink du ring ha rdening and cause an indentation/dent in at least one of the cover sheets. I n pa rticula r on high qua lity/gloss surface finishes such bulges or indentions are usually readily noticed by an observer due to the distortion of reflected light, mak ¬ ing extensive fu rther treatment necessary. As well , conventional injection of adhe- sive agent typically requi res relatively la rge amounts of adhesive agent which - particula rly in honeycomb panels - may flow to regions where it does not efficiently contribute to insert stability/anchorage.

Another reason impeding automated mounting of inserts in the above-mentioned types of panels is that due to the specific mecha nical behavior of these panels conventional inserts do not provide sufficient initial insert stability, making it necessary to use auxilia ry means in order to keep them in place du ring cu ring of an adhesive agent. This typically impedes mounting of multiple inserts and hence slows down production of panels comprising multiple inserts. An insert according to the present invention typically comprises a base and an outer skirt extending from the base, thereby forming a chamber. The outer ski rt is pro ¬ vided with a first inner skirt surface and a first outer skirt surface. According to the present invention, the insert comprises at least one fixation means arranged at the first outer skirt su rface and configured to interact ( respectively interfere in a defined manner) with a panel when inserted in an opening of the panel in order to increase initial insert stability. Thus, the fixation means interfering with the panel and the outer skirt interfering with adhesive agent in the peri-insert region of a panel provide sufficient initial insert stability to maintain insert position and alignment during curing/hardening of the adhesive agent and finally obtain long-term insert stability. For some applications, at least a pa rt of the skirt may have a rotationally symmet ¬ rical shape. Good results may be obtained if at least a part of the skirt has a cylindrical or a conical sha pe. Good results can be obtained if the fixation means is arranged at the region of the outer skirt which is adjacent to the base. Thus, the fixation means may interfere with a first cover sheet of a panel which allows to obtain very high initial insert stability. Such an embodiment of an insert according to the invention is particularly adva ntageous for being used in panel that comprise relatively core structures with relatively large cells.

According to a variation of the invention, the fixation means may comprise at least one thickening which at least partially protrudes from the first outer skirt surface. Hence an interference-fit may be obtained . For certain types of panels multi ple th ickenings may be are arranged circumferentially distributed a round the outer skirt su rface of the insert. An insert that offers very good initial- and long-term stability in panels having relatively sensitive cover sheets may be obtained if the fixa ¬ tion means comprises multi ple thickenings that protrude from the fi rst outer skirt su rface and a re arranged circumferentially distributed around the first outer skirt su rface whereby the protrusions are arranged and formed such that they do not induce any critical stress the peri-insert region of the cover sheet, in pa rticular do not produce a critica l notch effect. The shape and material of the thickening, re ¬ spectively the thickenings, may be adapted to the thickness and the material of the cover sheet of a pla ne the insert is to be inserted in. Alternatively or in addition, the fixation means may comprise at least one recess, which may extend in ci rcumferential direction around the first outer skirt surface. For certain types of panels the fixation means may comprise a knurl pattern and /or a corrugation, which may e.g. be made by an embossing process or by molding.

For certain types of panels, in particula r for panels that are mechanical ly pa rticularly sensitive, the fixation means may be at least partially made from a polymer material . I n order to obtain pa rticularly high initial insert stability, the polymer material may comprise an adhesive agent. Alternatively or in addition, the polymer material may be a sil icone. The adhesive agent may be configured to obtain a n at least tem poral adhesive bonding between the insert and the panel to be mounted in. To facilitate insertion of the insert a non-permanent adhesive agent may be a pplied . As well, the adhesive agent may be thermoactive. Good results may be obtained if the polymer material is arranged as a coating layer on the fi rst outer skirt surface.

For certain a ppl ications, the fixation means may comprise a coating layer that has a friction coefficient which is higher than the friction coefficient of the non-coated part of the first outer skirt surface. Hence, for certain types of pa nels insertion depth of an insert can be better controlled .

Good results may be obtained if at least part of the fixation means is integrally made with the outer skirt. Alternatively, or in addition at least part of the fixation means may be made from a different material than the outer skirt. The fixation means may be produced by means of an injection mold ing process. For some a pplications, at least one first groove may be arranged at the fi rst outer skirt surface closer to the free end of the outer skirt than to the base end of the outer ski rt which is arranged at the base. Hence, initial as well as long-term insert stability may be significantly be improved .

According to a variation of the invention, the at least one outer skirt comprises at least one slot arranged at the free end of the outer skirt and extending from the inner ski rt surface to the outer ski rt su rface. Good results may be obtai ned if multi ple slots are arranged circumferentia lly distributed a round the outer ski rt surface. Thus, an insert may be obtained which can be produced at low costs as well as it offers good resistance against torsional load and allows easy mounting . Alterna ¬ tively or in addition, the outer skirt may comprise at least one opening arranged a distance a part from the free end of the outer skirt and extending from the inner skirt surface to the outer ski rt surface to increase pull-out strength when combined with adhesive agent.

For some applications, the insert may comprise an inner ski rt that extends from the base and is arranged in the chamber and spaced apart a distance from the outer skirt. According to an embodiment of the invention, the portions of the outer skirt arranged between the multiple slots form resilient tongues. Thus, centering of the insert during insertion can be facilitated .

For some a pplications the insert may comprise at least one second circumferential groove a rranged at an outer su rface of the inner skirt and extending in circumfer ¬ ential direction of said inner skirt at least along a part of the circumference. The present invention is also directed to an insert system. Such an insert system typically comprises a panel which has a core structure and a first cover sheet that at least pa rtially covers the core structu re and an insert as described herein, the insert being mounted in an opening in the panel . Good resu lts may be obtai ned if the insert is mechanically interconnected with the panel by mea ns of an interference- fit between the fixation means and the first cover sheet. Good long term insert stability may be obtai ned if the opening comprises an undercut a rranged beneath the first cover sheet.

The present invention is also directed to a method for producing an insert system as described herein . Such a method typically comprises the steps of: providing a panel comprising a core structu re and a first cover sheet that at least partially covers the core structure, the first cover sheet induci ng an opening in the panel . Providing a specified amount of an adhesive agent i nto the opening . I nserting an insert into the opening . Establishing a mechanical interconnection between the fixation mea ns and the first cover sheet. As the outer skirt of the insert protrudes in the adhesive agent present in the opening and the fixation means interferes with the panel , an insert system produced according to such a method has a particularly high initial insert stability.

The present invention is also di rected to a working head for an insert machine sys- tern to process an insert to be mounted in a pa nel. Such a working head typically comprises at least one insert holding means to bear at least one insert to be mounted in the panel. Fu rther it comprises at least one insert receptive port config- ured to receive at least one insert to be mounted in the panel and at least one guidance means configured to transport an i nsert received at the at least one insert receptive port to the at least one insert holding means. I n combi nation with an insert that provides high initial insert stability as described herein, such a working head allows very efficient mounting of even very high numbers of inserts. However, such a working head may also be used for other types of inserts.

According to one aspect of the present invention, a working head is provided that allows a pa rticularly efficient mounting of inserts. Such a working head typically comprises at least one insert holding means to bear at least one insert to be mounted in the panel and at least one insert receptive port configu red to receive at least one i nsert to be mounted in the panel and at least one guidance means configured to transport an insert received at the at least one insert receptive port to the at least one insert holding means. Hence, the total amount of movements of the working head for mounting multi ple inserts can be minimized . For some a pplications the working head may comprise a working head carrier with which the at least one insert holding means and the at least one insert receptive port and the at least one guidance means a re mechanically interconnected .

The working head carrier may comprise a mechanical coupling means configured to mechanically interconnect the working head carrier with a mating coupling mea ns of an actuator of a machine system in a detachable manner. Hence, if re ¬ quired , a working head may easily be replaced for maintenance or adapted for an alternate mod us operandi . A variation of a working head may comprise an adhesive dispenser unit configured to provide a specified amount of adhesive agent to an opening of a panel and/or a specified amount of adhesive agent to an i nsert to be mounted in an opening of a panel . The adhesive dispenser unit may be detachably mechanically interconnected with the working head carrier. In order to receive inserts to be mounted , the working head may comprise a mechanical insert coupling means which is configured to be mechanically interconnected to a magazine containing multiple inserts configured to provide inserts to the at least one insert receptive port. Alternatively or in addition the mechanical insert coupling means may be configured to be mechanically interconnected to an insert conveying means configured to provide inserts to the at least one insert receptive port. According to a va riation of the invention, the working head comprises at least one tool to induce an opening in a panel an insert is to be mounted in.

The present invention is further directed to a magazine for storing inserts to be mounted in a composite panel . A magazine according to the present invention typ- ically comprises at least one storage part configured for storing multiple inserts while having a specific alignment and at least one mecha nical cou pl ing means con ¬ figured to be mechanical ly interconnected with a mating mechanical coupling means of a consumer device. A magazine typically fu rther comprises at least one insert delivery port configured to deliver an insert from the storage part to an insert receptive port of a consumer device such that the insert has a specified alignment. Good results may be obtained if the magazine comprises a biasing means inside the storage pa rt for su pporting the transfer of the inserts from the storage part through the delivery port into an insert receptive port of a consumer device.

One aspect of the present invention is di rected to a magazine system which com- prises a first magazine as described herein, whereby the at least one storage pa rt of the first magazine is a rranged to store a first type of insert. The magazine system fu rther comprises a second magazine as described herein, whereby the at least one storage part of the second magazine is arranged to store a second type of insert that differs (e.g . in shape and/or dimensions and/or materials) from the first type of insert. The at least one mechanical cou pling means of the first magazine and the at least one mechanical coupling means of the second magazine are configured to be mechanically interconnected with the same type of mechanical cou pling means of a consumer device and the at least one insert delivery port of the fi rst magazine and the at least one insert delivery port of the second magazine is configu red to be mecha nically interconnected with the same type of insert receptive port of a consumer device.

The present invention is further d irected to an adhesive dispenser unit for dispensing an adhesive agent comprising an adhesive dispenser ca rrier comprising a mechanical interconnection interface to mechanically interconnect the adhesive dis- penser u nit with a working head carrier. The ad hesive dispenser unit typically also comprises at least one first fluidic port configu red to be fluidically interconnected to a source of a first adhesive agent and at least one nozzle to dispense the first adhesive agent. For some types of adhesive agents, the adhesive dispenser unit may comprises a second fluidic port to be interconnected to a sou rce of a second adhesive agent. Good results may be obtained if the adhesive dispenser unit comprises a mixing chamber that is configu red to intermix a fi rst adhesive agent with a second adhesive agent and provide the mixture to the nozzle. For some a pplications, the first and/or the second fluid ic port may be interconnected to a storage tank containing the first respectively the second fluidic agent. Such a storage tank may be interconnected with an actuator of a machine system for producing an insert system , as will subsequently be shown . Alternatively the storage tank may be interconnected with a dispenser ca rrier or the storage tank may be arranged a distance a pa rt from the machine bed and be fluidically interconnected with the adhesive dispenser via fluidic lines.

The present invention is also di rected to a machine system for producing a n insert system, which typically comprises at least one holding device for holding a panel and a first worki ng head displaceable with respect to the panel and configured to receive an insertion tool (displaceable with respect to the panel and configured to support an insert to be inserted in the opening. I n a variation of the invention the first working head is arranged at a first actuator. The first actuator may e.g. be a bridge of a CNC-router and/or a robotic a rm. I n order to increase performance of a machine system, the machine system may comprise a second working head that is arranged at a second actuator and is dis ¬ placeable with respect to the first working head . The second actuator may e.g. be a bridge of a CNC-router and/or a robotic a rm. The second working head may comprise an opening tool to induce an opening into the panel .

The fi rst working head may be a working head as described herein. For some ap ¬ plications, the working machine may comprise an adhesive dispenser unit that is displaceable with respect to the panel . For some applications the adhesive dispenser unit may be mechanically interconnected with the fi rst working head. Good results may be obtained if the ad hesive dispenser unit is an adhesive dispenser unit as described herein.

Good performance may be obtained if the machine system comprises at least one fluid line interconnecting the first or the second fluidic port with at least one adhe ¬ sive storage tank arranged at a distance apa rt from the adhesive dispenser device and comprising an adhesive agent or at least one component of a multi-component adhesive agent.

For some applications, the machine system may comprise at least one insert con- veying means in order to convey at least one insert from a stationa ry insert receptive port a rranged at a distance apart f om the working head to the insert receptive port of the working head . The stationary insert receptive port may be arranged at a fixed position at a distance a part from the hold ing device. Good results may be obtained if the insert conveying means comprises a tube in which one or multi ple inserts to be mounted can be conveyed, e.g. by pressurized air. Alternatively or in addition, the machine system may comprise at least one magazine as described herein and bei ng a rranged at the working head and the insert delivery port being interconnected with an insert receptive port of the working head. For some applications a magazine may be arranged at a distance a part from the working head and the i nsert delivery port being interconnected with an insert receptive port of the working head by means of an insert conveying means.

Although being particula rly advantageous for panels and applications as described above, inserts and the devices to mount such inserts according to the present in ¬ vention a re not limited to these and hence may also be used for other types of pan- els, such as panels used for space technology, e.g. panels comprising a core made from a honeycomb structure made from aluminum and cover sheets made from ca rbon fiber reinforced plastics.

BRI EF DESCRI PTION OF TH E DRAWI NGS

The herein described invention will be more fully understood from the detailed de- scription of the given herein below and the accompanying drawings, which should not be considered as limiting to the invention described in the a ppended claims. schematically shows an embodiment of an insert according to the present invention in a perspective view;

Fig. 2 shows the insert of Fig. Ί in a frontal view;

Fig. 3 shows section D-D of Fig . 2 ; Fig. 4 schematically shows an embodiment of an insert according to the present invention in a perspective view;

Fig. 5 schematically shows an embodiment of an insert according to the present invention in a perspective view;

Fig. 6 schematically shows an embodiment of an insert according to the present invention in a perspective view;

Fig. 7 schematically shows an embodiment of an insert according to the present invention in a perspective view;

Fig. 8 schematically shows an embodiment of an insert according to the pre- sent invention in a perspective view;

Fig. 9 schematically shows an embodiment of an insert system according to the present invention in a perspective view;

Fig. 1 0 schematically shows a cross-section of an embodiment of an insert system according to the present invention;

Fig. 1 1 schematically shows a cross-section of an embodiment of an insert system according to the present invention;

Fig. 1 2 schematically shows an embodiment of a working head according to the present invention;

Fig. 1 3 schematically shows an embodiment of a working head according to the present invention

Fig. 1 4 schematically shows an embodiment of a machine system according to the present invention in a top view;

Fig. 1 5 schematically shows an embodiment of a magazine according to the present invention in a perspective view. DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

The foregoing summary, as well as the following detailed description of the preferred embodiments, is better understood when read in conjunction with the ap ¬ pended drawings. For the purposes of illustrating the invention, an embodiment that is presently preferred, in which like numerals represent similar parts throughout the several views of the drawings, it being understood, however, that the invention is not limited to the specific methods and instrumentalities disclosed.

Figures 1 to 3 show a variation of an insert 100 according to the present invention. The Insert 100 comprises a base 110 and an outer skirt 120 that extends from the base 110 to an outer skirt end 121. The base 110 and the outer skirt 120 form a chamber 101, as shown in Figure 3. The outer skirt 120 is provided with a first inner skirt surface 123 and a first outer skirt surface 124. The variation of an insert 100 further comprises a fixation means 180 that is arranged at the first outer skirt surface 124 and configured to interfere with a panel (not shown) when inserted in an opening of the panel and thereby increase initial insert stability as will be ex ¬ plained in more detail below. As shown, the fixation means 180 is arranged at the region of the outer skirt 120 which is adjacent to the base 110. In the variation shown, the fixation means 180 comprises a thickening 181 which when the insert 100 is mounted in an opening of a panel interferes with a cover sheet of a panel such that an interference-fit is obtained as will subsequently be shown. The thickening 181 extends in circumferential direction around the first outer skirt surface 124. The variation of an insert 100 shown further comprises multiple slots 140 which are arranged at the free end 121 of the outer skirt 120 and extend from the inner skirt surface 123 to the outer skirt surface 124. The slots are arranged cir- cumferentially distributed around the outer skirt surface 124. The slots 140 improve the distribution of an adhesive agent (not shown) present in an opening of a panel when the insert 100 is inserted in the opening. At the same time, the slots 140 help to establish a form-fit connection between the insert 100 and a panel and thus in particular help to increase the mechanical stability of an insert-panel construct when the insert under torsional loading. The variation of an insert 100 shown further comprises a first groove 125 arranged at the first outer skirt surface 124, closer to the free end 121 of the outer skirt 120 than to the base end of the outer skirt 120 which is arranged at the base 110. The groove 125 extends circumferen- tially around the insert 100. The groove 125 inter alia increases pull-out strength of the insert 100. Furthermore, the insert 100 comprises guiding means 170 arranged at the free end 1212 of the outer skirt 120, formed as a chamfer which supports insertion of the insert 100 in an opening. The portions 150 of the outer skirt 120 arranged between the multiple slots 140 form resilient tongues which due to the groove 125 have a slightly decreased stiffness when deflected in radial direction of the insert 100, which supports insertion of the insert 100 in an opening even more. The insert further comprises a connection means 160 which in the variation shown is an inner thread configured to receive e.g. a screw (not shown) in order to mechanically interconnect e.g. an equipment device with the insert. How ¬ ever, neither the variations shown nor any other variation of the present invention is limited to such kinds of connection means. As well, the insert has an inner skirt 130 which is arranged at the base 110. Figure 4 to 8 schematically show fu rther variations of an insert 1 00 according to the present invention comprising different types of fixation means 1 80. I n the variation shown in Figure 4, the fixation means 1 80 comprises a knurl, respectively corrugation. In the variation of an insert 1 00 as schematically shown in Figure 5, the fixation means comprises a polymer material that is arranged as a coating layer on the first outer skirt surface 1 24 and arranged in segments which are a rranged circumferentially distributed around the outer skirt surface l 24. The polymer materia l is a silicone which has a friction coefficient which is higher than the friction coefficient of the non-coated part of the first outer skirt surface 1 24. Hence for cer- tain types of panels, positioning of such a variation of an insert 1 00 relatively to the panel in z-direction can be better controlled ( respectively automated ) , as well as initial stability of the insert 1 00 in the panel ca n be increased . Figure 6 schemati ¬ cally shows a variation of an insert 1 00 where the fixation means 1 80 comprises protrusions essentially have a semi-ellipsoidal sha pe in order not to produce any notch effect and resulting critical stress the peri-insert region of the cover sheet, while still offering sufficient initial insert stability. Figure 7 schematically shows an ¬ other variation of an insert 1 00 which comprises a fixation means 1 80 that is formed as a corrugation that extends in circumferential direction a round the insert 1 00. Figure 8 schematically shows a va riation of an insert 1 00 where the fixation mea ns 1 80 comprises a recess/groove that extends in circumferential direction around the insert 1 00. Such a va riation of a fixation means 1 80 may be used for insert 1 00 to be a pplied to certain types of panels, as they may support positioning of the insert 1 00 relatively to the panel . Figure 9 shows a va riation of an insert system 1 according to the present invention comprising a variation of an insert 1 00 as shown in Figures 1 to 3. As well, the insert system 1 comprises a panel 200 which has a core structu re 250 that is a honeycomb structu re comprising a plurality of cells del imited by cell walls. However, the invention as disclosed herein is not l imited to panels with such types of core structures. The panel further comprises a fi rst cover sheet 2 1 0 and a second cover sheet 230 that cover the core structure 250. When mounted, the insert 1 00 is ar ¬ ranged in an opening 2 1 2 a rranged in the panel 200. In the variation of an insert system 1 as shown, in the peri-insert region of the core 250 an adhesive agent (not shown ) is present which interconnects the insert 1 00 and the panel 200. As schematically shown, the fixation means 1 80 of the insert 1 00 interferes with the fi rst cover sheet 2 1 0 and thereby induces an interference-fit between the insert 1 00 and the cover first sheet 2 1 0, thereby providing initial insert stability.

Figure 10 schematically shows a variation of a n insert system 1 according to the invention. As shown, when in a mounted state the insert 1 00 is a rranged in an opening 2 1 2 arranged in the panel 200. The opening 2 1 2 comprises a first segment that is adjacent to the first cover sheet 2 1 0 and in the variation has an essentially cylindrical shape (if the core structu re 250 is made from a honeycomb structu re, the hexagona l sha pe of the honeycombs may overlay said cylind rical shape) . The outer skirt 1 20 is essentially a rranged in this first segment of the opening 2 1 2. Methods to obtain such openings are well known. The opening 2 1 2 fu rther comprises a second segment that extends further towa rds the second cover sheet 230 and in which the inner ski rt of the insert 1 00 is arranged . I n the space between the boundary walls of the opening 2 1 2 and the insert 1 00 an adhesive agent is arranged (not shown in detail) which provides long-term stability (respectively bonding between the insert 1 00 and the panel 200). As schematically shown, an insert system 1 according to the invention may comprise an opening 21 2 that has an un- dercut 225 which increases insert stability, in particular pullout-strength of the insert 1 00. As schematically shown, the variation of an insert 1 00 shown has a fixation means 1 80 that comprises a thickening which in mounted state interacts with the boundaries of the opening 21 2 in the first cover sheet 2 1 0 such that an interference-fit is obtained. Figure 1 1 schematically shows another embodiment of an insert system 1 according to the present invention which is similar to the embodiment shown in Figure 10. In contrast to the embodiment shown in Figure 10, the opening is formed such that part of the core structure 250 of the panel 200 is arranged in the chamber 1 01 . Such an embodiment of an insert system 1 may be advantageous for certain types of panels 200.

Figures 12 schematically shows an embodiment of a working head 300 according to the present invention. The working head comprises an insert holding means 3 1 0 to bear at least one insert 1 00 to be mounted in the panel 200. In the embodiment shown the holding means comprises a vacuum system to bear the insert 1 00 during mounting. The working head 300 further comprises an insert receptive port 330 (not shown in detail ) which is configured to receive inserts 1 00 to be mounted in the panel 200 from a (detachable) magazine 400. The working head 300 further comprises a guidance means 350 configured to transport an insert 1 00 received at the insert receptive port 330 to the insert holding means 3 1 0. The working head 300 fu rther comprises a working head ca rrier 360 with which the insert holding mea ns 3 1 0 and the receptive port 330 and the guidance means 350 are mechanically interconnected . The working head carrier 360 comprises a mechanical cou- pling mea ns which is configures to mechanically interconnect the working head ca rrier 360 with a mating cou pling means of an actuator 730, 735 of a machine system ( not shown ) in a detachable manner. Hence, the working head 300 can be easily replaced e.g. for maintenance of the working head or conversion of a machine system. I n addition, the embod iment of a working head 300 shown com- prises an adhesive dispenser unit 500 for dispensing an adhesive agent to an opening 2 1 2 in the panel 200. The embodiment of an adhesive dispenser unit 500 shown comprises an adhesive dispenser carrier 5 1 0 which has a mechanical interconnection interface to mechanically interconnect the adhesive dispenser unit 500 with the working head carrier 360. As well, the adhesive dispenser unit 500 com- prises a first fluidic port which is fluidically interconnected with a storage tank 550 that serves as a source of an adhesive agent. The adhesive dispenser unit 500 further comprises a nozzle 530 configured to dispense the adhesive agent to openings 2 1 2 in the panel 200.

Figure 1 3 shows an embodiment of a working head 300 according to the present invention which is similar to the one shown in Figure 12. However, in contrast to the latter, the working head comprises a mechanical insert cou pling means 340 which is mechanically interconnected with an insert conveying means 760 that is configu red to provide inserts to the insert receptive port 330. Thus inserts 1 00 can be conveyed e.g. from a magazine (not shown) arranged at a distance apart from the working head 300 and consequently total weight of the working head 300 can be decreased, leading to lower requirements with respect to the structural stability of the working head 300 and/or the actuator 730, 735. Figure 14 schematically shows an embodiment of a machine system 700 for production of an insert system as described herein. The machine system comprises a holding device 71 0 for holding/supporting a panel 200. The holding device 71 0 may e.g. be formed as table comprising a vacuum system to hold the panel 200. The machine system 700 further comprises a first working head 300 arranged on a first actuator 730 that is displaceable with respect to the panel 200 and configured to support an insert (not shown in detail) to be inserted in an opening 2 1 2 in the panel 200. As shown, the first working head 300 comprises an insert holding means 31 0 arranged to mount an insert into an opening 2 1 2 in the panel 200, as well as an adhesive dispenser unit 500 as described herein to provide an adhesive agent to an opening 21 2 prior to mounting of an insert. The working head 300 is mechanically interconnected with a magazine 400 by means of an insert conveying means 760 configured to provide inserts, configured to convey inserts from the magazine to the working head 300. As shown, the magazine 400 is arranged at a distance apart from the holding device 7 1 0 but mechanically interconnected with the first actuator 730, such that it can move together with the fist actuator 730 along the holding device 71 0 but can be easily accessed e.g. in order to be replaced. The embodiment of a machine system 700 as shown further comprises a second working head 300' that is arranged at a second actuator 735 and is displaceable with respect to the first working head 300. The second working head 300' comprises an opening tool 720 to induce an opening 21 2 into the panel 200.

Figure 1 5 schematically shows an embodiment of a magazine 400 according to the present invention. The magazine 400 comprises a storage part 41 0 in which multiple insert 1 00 are stored while being aligned in a specific way. The magazine 400 comprises a mechanical coupling means 420 (not visible) configured to establish a mechanical interconnection with a mating coupling means of a consumer device, such as a working head. The magazine 400 further comprises a insert delivery port 430 that is configured to deliver inserts 1 00 from the storage part 41 0 to an insert receptive port (not shown) of a consumer device (e.g. a working head or an insert conveying means) such that the insert 1 00 has a specified alignment.

REFERENCE NUMERALS

1 Insert system 330 Insert receptive port

4 Magazine system 340 Mechanical insert coupling means

100 Insert 350 Guidance means

5 101 Chamber 30 360 Working head carrier

110 Base 400 Magazine

120 Outer skirt 410 Storage part

121 Outer skirt end 420 Mechanical coupling means

123 First inner skirt surface 430 Insert delivery port

10 124 First outer skirt surface 35 500 Adhesive dispenser unit

125 Groove 510 Adhesive dispenser carrier

130 Inner skirt 530 Nozzle

140 Slot 550 Storage tank

150 Portions 700 Machine system

15 170 Guiding means 40 710 Holding device

180 Fixation means 720 Opening tool

181 Thickening 730 First actuator

182 Recess 735 Second actuator

200 Panel 750 Fluid line

20 210 First cover sheet 45 755 Adhesive storage tank

212 Opening 760 Insert conveying means

225 Undercut 761 Stationary insert receptive port

230 Second cover sheet 765 Tube

250 Core structure

25 300, 300' Working head

310 Insert holding means